From a press release:
Senator Ralph Recto wants 60 libraries to be established next year to be named after noted Filipino writers, saying these facilities would not only honor deceased writers but also encourage the youth and adults alike to develop a passion for reading.I applaud the intention of building libraries and the desire to honor writers and promote reading, but I do not see how erecting libraries, by themselves, will encourage Filipinos to "develop a passion for reading." It would probably be more effective for Recto to ask his wife Vilma Santos to join the Get Caught Reading campaign.
Recto’s proposal comes in the wake of the finding that three in every four recent elementary school graduates cannot read without assistance.
The less popular—but more effective, in my biased opinion—initiative that Recto can push is to highlight the importance of hiring competent librarians for all existing public school libraries and those he wants to set up; librarians who will not just keep the books in order, but reach out to their communities to promote reading and literacy. Just as the Senate is not merely a repository of laws, libraries are not just buildings full of books. And just as not all senators are worthy of the name, not everyone who works in a library is, in fact, a librarian.
Libraries with "librarians" who just happen to be relatives or friends of the appointing authorities, but with no knowledge of what professional librarians actually do, will very likely discourage—not encourage—reading. Libraries without librarians who care about their communities and books will just be a waste of time, space, effort and money.
So go ahead, build the libraries, name them after writers, but don't forget to hire the librarians who will manage the libraries, attract readers and make sure that those readers know who the writers are. Oh, and remember to mention the need for librarians in your press releases.