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The National Library

From "The Decline of English," Isagani Cruz's Separate Opinion column (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 20 March 2005):

I don't know how things are now with our public libraries, but during my student days they were quite popular with book lovers. They were well-stocked even with the current best sellers that we could borrow and read for free, and come back for more. I was a regular customer and used to walk from my house in Sampaloc, Manila, to the National Library at the ground floor of the old Legislative Building on P. Burgos Street. Every visit was an adventure.
It is important to remember that Cruz, a former justice of the Supreme Court, graduated from high school before 1941. Sadly, the National Library that he remembers is not the same one we have today. But I will leave it to Cruz to discover for himself exactly what has changed; this post will be about the online presence of the National Library.

Type "national library philippines" into any search engine and it will lead you to this website—"Welcome to the Library Catalog." No history, no address, no telephone number, no services offered.

I would like to say more but I think anything I say at this point will just get me into trouble, so I hope no one will mind if I just keep my mouth shut. Hey, it's Holy Week already! The suffering will probably be good for me...

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