The establishment and support for the maintenance of public libraries, particularly in the provinces and towns—and in the cities, for that matter—have remained the least concern of government, and yet it is they that could make a decisive difference in our life as a nation.It's not very often that libraries are mentioned in newspapers, and so it's good that public libraries are the focus in this recent column. But I have to say that while I agree with Zenarosa that "public libraries could play a central role in educating and developing more responsible citizenry," it would have been better if he had given examples of how libraries can educate and develop a "more responsible citizenry."
—"Public libraries for information and learning" by Hern Zenarosa (Manila Bulletin, 28 May 2005)
He quotes "National Library Secretary Prudencia C. Cruz" (note: her official title is Director and her first name is Prudenciana) as saying: "Our leaders should change their perception of libraries as a simple financial burden on the government," but he does not say exactly how Cruz proposes to go about changing this perception.
Perhaps I expect too much from Zenarosa's short opinion piece, but the impression I get from his column is that nothing will happen to public libraries if the government does not move.
For more about the National Library's previous projects and plans, check out the following articles in the newsletter of the Conference of Directors of National Libraries in Asia and Oceania (CDNLAO):
- "Library for the Blind: A Guiding Light in the Dark" by Adoracion Mendoza Bolos (CDNLAO Newsletter 39, September 2000)
- "The National Library and the Public Library System in the Philippines" by Prudenciana C. Cruz (CDNLAO Newsletter 45, November 2002)
- "The Library and the Promotion of Reading" by Prudenciana C. Cruz (CDNLAO Newsletter 48, November 2003)