The University Library (UL) was formally created in 1922, fourteen years after establishing the University of the Philippines. The founding anniversary of the UL is commemorated in March. This year is the library’s 99th anniversary, just a year shy of its centennial celebration. Since its inception, the UL has constantly espoused the ideals of the University as a bastion of higher learning, academic freedom, and safe space. Along with establishing the constituent universities throughout the archipelago, the University Library eventually found its way within Baguio, Cebu, Los Baños, Manila, Mindanao, the Open University, and the Visayas. The challenge of managing several libraries, which are geographically apart, paved the way to delegate the enormous responsibility to capable librarians who shall serve as the University Librarian of each campus. Through the initiative of the Staff Training and Development Committee, a three-part lecture series entitled “Towards 100 Years of Resilience: From the Helm of the University Library” was organized. Past and present University Librarians and administrators discussed the milestones, current engagements, and future undertakings of their respective University Libraries.
The previous University Librarians of the Diliman campus, Prof. Salvacion Arlante, Prof. Rodolfo Tarlit, and Prof. Chito N. Angeles, delivered the first lecture on March 17. Prof. Arlante started by sharing her personal experiences with the late Prof. Marina G. Dayrit, who served as the University Librarian of Diliman from 1963 to 1981. She highlighted Prof. Dayrit’s 5-year development program for the UL by building its collection and resources through Ford Foundation grants. For his part, Prof. Tarlit ardently narrated the establishment of a formal education program in Library Science which was overseen by the librarians of the University. More so, he stressed the critical role of the Office of the University Librarian in meeting the academic needs of the UP community. Last but not least, Prof. Angeles discussed the various initiatives, programs, and technology that ushered the transformation of the UP Diliman Libraries towards the digital era. He also emphasized the need to constantly analyze and understand User Experience (UX) to design and implement user-centered library services.
The second lecture was opened by Ms. Maria Nimfa Castro, University Librarian of the UP Manila campus. She highlighted the partnerships and networks established by the library with various government and international institutions in Medicine and Allied Health Sciences. A renowned library in medicine and health-related fields in the country, the UP Manila Library seeks to continuously expand its resources by securing funds and subscribing to high-quality online databases.
Ms. Amelia Cendaña, Officer-In-Charge of the UP Baguio Library, talked about the improvement of the library’s physical space which was initiated by Ms. Brenda Dogup and developed during the time of Ms. Cristina Villanueva. As a component of their online library services, she announced the UP Baguio Library’s avatar, dubbed Integrate Services and Knowledge Assistant or ISKA. This initiative aimed at supporting students and the staff was made possible through the support and assistance of the UP Baguio Administrators. Additionally, the UP Baguio Library increased its social media presence through Facebook by constantly posting announcements, updates, online resources, and services available to its stakeholders.
The last presentation was led by Dr. Briccio Merced Jr., University Librarian of the Mindanao campus. During his talk, he shared updates regarding the planned expansion of the library. A noteworthy endeavor is its active membership in the Davao Colleges and University Network (DACUN) to enhance resource-sharing and continuous professional development. In conclusion, he highlighted the efforts of the library concurring with the campus’ strategic plan “Towards UP Mindanao’s 100 Years,” a long-term development plan.
For the third and last lecture of the series, Ms. Concepcion Saul, University Librarian of the UP Los Baños, started by highlighting the history of the library and the progress initiated by the previous administrators. She also noted the importance of cooperation and partnership with several student organizations, which brought forth initiatives such as Food Boxes to benefit students. To provide the students a clear picture of what the library offers, they decided to redevelop the University Library website. She also gave updates regarding the construction of the University Library and Knowledge Center.
Ms. Sheryl Alforque represented the UP Cebu Library. She eagerly enumerated the programs they implemented, such as the digitization of Cebuano literature, RFID technology, automated inventory system, and library personnel in-service training and workshop, to name a few. Similar to the UP Los Baños Library, Ms. Alforque emphasized the student body’s involvement in the library’s initiatives.
The last lecture for this series was presented by Ms. Analiza Linaugo, University Librarian of the UP Visayas Library. Apart from the continuing transformation of software and equipment, the library administrators underscored the power of resource-sharing to provide students high-quality information resources such as the Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (AFSA) Partnership Agreements under the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. As the UP Visayas campus specializes in aquaculture, it is worth mentioning that the library is affiliated with the International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Laboratories and Information Centers.
The accomplishments and plans presented by each UP library are a clear testament to the commitment of the university and library administrators in providing high-value information resources and the best learning environment for its stakeholders. Should the University Library continue to uphold its level of excellence for the next one hundred years, it will undoubtedly be among the best academic libraries in the Philippines and the entire Asian continent.