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To Bangkok Conference programme

65th IFLA Council and General

Bangkok, Thailand,
August 20 - August 28, 1999

Code Number: 039-138-E
Division Number: VII
Professional Group: Library History
Joint Meeting with: -
Meeting Number: 138
Simultaneous Interpretation:   No

Trends in Philippine Library History

Vicente S. Hernández
Sangandaan Cultural Center, Makati City, Philippines


This paper divides Philippine library history into three periods, establishing a relationship between historical events and library trends. During the Spanish period, modern library trends were introduced through the establishment of the Sociedad Económica in 1780, but did not influence Philippine library culture until the later part of the 19th century. In the 20th century, the United States introduced innovations in sciences and practice, but the foundation of Philippine librarianship was largely due to the enthusiasm of a few American librarians and Filipino scholars. After the devastation of World War II, the newly established Philippine Republic helped strengthen academic and cultural institutions in the country. Today's Philippine librarianship is nurtured in library schools and consolidated through association and cooperative effort.




Since the purpose of this paper is to speak about trends from a historical perspective, the analysis concentrates on Philippine library history during the 19th and 20th centuries, the historical period in which the modern library revolution has taken place. An introduction to early libraries in the Philippines is included, with the hope of filling up a much-needed gap which also exists in many other Southeast Asian countries. Like other continents, Asia has had a complex history of freedom and domination which has in turn shaped contemporary events. Thus, we cannot isolate facts from their relationship to national, regional, and international history.

Sources, facts, and trends point to a clear division of this paper's topic into historical periods linked to events defining Philippine history. Colonial domination was guided by principles which varied from century to century and from power to power. The Spanish crown wanted first and foremost the conversion of the natives to the Catholic religion and supported this endeavor through missionary efforts. Much later, the United States experimented with democratic ideas in the Philippines, in an effort to modernize the country. And the newly established Philippine Republic aspired to achieve what a free nation could, without the control of previous powers.

Although historical changes have been sudden and radical, a gradual transition brought over into the next period something of the library tradition of earlier years. The Spaniards used Philippine syllabaries and the native languages together with xylographic printing, introducing typographic printing and a strong influence of the Spanish and Euro-continental library tradition-born in the Middle Ages and built upon scholarly libraries and private collections. The new library trends of the 19th century were carried over by Filipino scholars and library collectors from the Spanish to the American colonial period. They introduced a public library system, modernized printing, and established the foundation of the library profession as a science. Today modern library trends in the Philippines follow universal patterns but still carry lights and shadows of previous centuries.

This analysis breaks up Philippine library history into three periods: (1) ancient, (2) colonial, and (3) modern in their nature.1 Furthermore, Philippine modern library history may be divided into its (1) Spanish, (2) American, and (3) Republican periods.

Ancient Period or Before History (up to 1565)

The Philippines is a truly young nation. Ferdinand Magellan reached the island of Samar in 1521, leading to the formal occupation of the Philippines by the Spanish crown in 1572. Different accounts and testimonies speak about Philippine pre-Spanish culture. The first Western travel-ers reported different levels of knowledge of the art of writing among Southeast Asian inhabitants. There was a localized knowledge of reading and writing, but no trace of the existence of libraries.2 Later on, early Filipino nationalists were to assume that pre-Spanish documents were destroyed by the colonizers as the latter did in Mexico, but their arguments are not based on historical facts.3 Credible and coincidental accounts written by the first religious missionaries described a spectrum of native cultures separated by linguistic and geographical barriers.4 The art of writing was confined to specific areas in the archipelago, skillfully practiced mostly by women, and used for correspondence and note-taking. Writing in the Philippine sylla-baries survived the first fifty years of domination as a means of religious instruction and in the wording of official documents,5 gradually disappearing during the following centuries and turning alphabetical.

The Colonial Philippine Library Period (1565-1780)

Ferdinand Magellan sailed under the Spanish crown convinced of the existence of an alternative route to Asia. This new route was going to foster European-Asian trade, bypassing the control that the Portuguese exercised over Africa. But distance and expenses disheartened the intent of the Spanish Crown. Guided by a sense of mission, the King of Spain, Philip II, consented in the conquest and control of the archipelago for the spreading of the Catholic faith and the establishment of a closed trading port in Manila.

Thus, the conquistadores brought the sword, while the religious who accompanied them introduced the Catholic faith together with books to aid them in this new field of mission. Early ordinances given by the Spanish King clearly indicated that no secular literature was to sail into the new colonies.6 The Spanish book market then was flooded with tales of chivalry, but as far as we know, the law was strictly implemented7 and ships were thoroughly searched at the Manila harbor. Since, the King wanted no distraction from both conquerors and natives, only religious books found their way into the islands.

The first collections came with the Spanish missionaries. The earliest records speak of a private collection in 1583. It was owned by Bishop Domingo de Salazar and was probably the first of its kind in the islands. But as so often happened during the first centuries of domination, this collection was reportedly lost in a fire.8 Other collections of an academic nature followed: those of the Augustinian Convent of San Pablo, the University of Santo Tomás, and the College of San Ignacio. To enrich their collections, the missionaries shipped books from Europe and engaged in book trading with Chinese merchants, most probably for the purpose of learning about the latter's culture and language. The introduction of printing was but a result of the zeal and sense of mission of these missionaries. Need and urgency made them use the xylographic method to produce the first printed book in the Philippines in 1593, the Doctrina Christiana.9 Printing skills were borrowed largely from China, and the first printer was a Chinese convert named Juan de Vera.10 Then in 1604, the first typographic press appeared,11 which, unlike the ones of Macao, Goa, and Japan, was manufactured in the Philippines.12 The libraries of the time collected, together with religious works, maps and manuscripts. This was specially the case in the Convent of San Agustín, whose collection was captured and brought to Europe by British forces13 during their occupation of the islands from 1762 to 1764. Private collections must have existed too, but no record has been found of substantial amounts of books in the possession of private individuals.

Philippine library developments during the 17th and 18th centuries had a common feature: the urgently felt need for books. Books from Europe seemed to have poured constantly into the Philippines, as attested to by news from different parts of the Philippine islands. Where are all these books? They were rarely collected. A strong demand and a devastating deterioration seemed to have consumed them all. After centuries of hardships, fires, natural calamities, and wars, no trace seem to have been left of them.

An Idea for a Modest but Modern Philippine Library (1780-1898)

The roots of the modern Philippine library may be traced to the so-called Age of Enlightenment, which seized and dominated European thought during the 18th century. The Bourbon King of Spain, Charles III, had introduced a number of reforms which re-sulted in initiatives in every field-among them, the creation of Sociedades Económicas in Spain and the Colonies. The idea behind the Sociedad Económica was to create a forum for scientific and cultural ideas and to foster agriculture, industry, and craftsmanship by engaging in the distribution of books and the establishment of libraries.14 A parallelism could be established between these philanthropic ideas and the Mechanics' Institutes in England, towards the end of the 18th century, or the Mercantile Libraries in the US which were to appear during this same period. The trend was Enlightenment through humanitarian and political goals and social progress.

In the Philippines, the Sociedad Económica was established in 1781 by Governor José de Basco y Vargas, and it engaged mostly in the free distribution of books.15 Although the libraries of the Sociedad did not yield any record of holdings until 1877, its creation signaled the beginning of a new era in Philippine library history: popular and public reading.

The concept of public libraries had taken different shapes in the history of many nations, but the foundation of today's modern public library was inspired by the famous law of 1850 in England which established public libraries through public taxes. In Spain, the first regulations for the establishment of public provincial libraries were issued in 1812,16 but it was too early a start for Spain and its colonies which still had to weather a century of war and anarchy. Nonetheless, the eventual social impact of this concept in Spain and in most of Europe came under different names and entailed different praxes. The concept of a public library was somehow mixed. In 1858, the Spanish government17 defined as public libraries the national library, university libraries, provincial libraries, and all those which addressed public education in general. The mixing of public libraries gave rise to the idea of popular libraries, which reached the Philippines in 1871.18 Prestigious teachers were to be rewarded with books for the establishment of popular libraries. The holdings of these libraries were to be informative and educational, and their management entrusted to teachers. Recommendations encouraged group reading and allowed the circulation of books. The funding for the library was to come from the local government and their collections from the central government.19 The tenor of this attempt followed a tradition: popular libraries were attached to public instruction to maximize the use of personnel and facilities.

Although the Sociedad Económica20 had performed the function of a public library during the later part of the 19th century, popular or public libraries did not leave any record in Philippine territory until 1887, when the Museo-Biblioteca de Filipinas was established. Most probably, the 12 public libraries21 reported at the end of the Spanish period, which held 4,019 books, were in reality popular libraries established in educational religious institutions.

One of the more significant facts in 19th century Philippine library history was the royal order of August 12, 1887. This law established the Museo-Biblioteca de Filipinas in Manila under the Department of Civil Administration. It was a true public library which counted on public funding, had a Filipino scholar, Pedro Alejandro Paterno, as director, and a modest professional staff. The library had published a catalog and the first library bulletin in the history of Philippine libraries-the Boletín del Museo-Biblioteca de Filipinas. Everything in the Museo-Biblioteca was innovative: regulations, organization, and circulation. Vested with legal authority and directed by a Filipino, this institution was the humble beginning and the foundation stone of the Philippine National Library. Its history ended with the outbreak of war in 1898, and its holdings, around 1,500 titles, were integrated into the American Circulating Library in 1901.22

The introduction of the press, the increasing political and ideological tension in the archipelago, and modern trends in the arts and sciences had created a thirst for reading, reflected in the libraries of a number of recreational societies and private individuals. Societies like the Círculo Nacional Recreativo, the Manila Club, the Casino Español, and others had libraries for the exclusive use of their members. A culture of reading, created in the highest strata of Philippine society, motivated the collection of books in private libraries by Filipino scholars and heroes of the 1896 and 1898 Philippine War of the Independence. This passion for collecting books and the growing interest in library management carried over a library tradition to the 20th century: the scholarly library.23

Libraries in religious schools and the new secular academic institutions had also grown in importance, pushed by political and ideological forces, but lacking in means and handled by non-professional library staff. Religious instruction and basic general education had emanated from parishes and convents distributed all over the islands and contained modest collections of books to aid the parish priests in their tasks. Parishes had collections of 200 to 500 books, covering a wide range of subjects but following the selective criterion of the parish priest.24 Literacy and religious instruction was common and extensive, often admired by travelers, but primary education was only imparted in Manila and a few regional capitals. The three seminaries of the Islands, the religious schools in Manila, and the new secular institutions, like the Escuela de Artes y Oficios, had libraries supporting their curriculum.

The University of Santo Tomás25 had a collection of 12,000 titles, the largest in the archipelago. The library's holdings reached 20,000 by the beginning of the 20th century. The scholarly nature of libraries in most of the central houses of the religious orders expanded academic resources. All these orders had library collections, but the biggest were owned by the Franciscans (8,000 volumes), the Recollects (7,000), and the Dominicans in the Convent of Santo Domingo (5,000).

Historical facts of the 19th century indicate the influx of new ideas. Modern trends began to influence libraries and readers, but needed a cooperative effort, based on training, and a change of mentality. Librarianship all over the world was still in the designing stage, the internal mechanisms of which process we can better understand with the help of Philippine library history.

A Turnover in Philippine Modern Library (1898-1945)

The Spanish-American war of 1898 opened a new chapter in Philippine history. Commodore George E. Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet at Cavite on May 1, 1998. Then on February 6, 1899, the US Senate voted in favor of the occupation of the Philippines. The Philippine War of Independence, which started in 1896 against the Spaniards, turned against the Americans and ceased in September of 1902.

Amid this turbulent environment, it is surprising to read the following notice in the August 1899 issue of The Library Journal: "A free library and reading-room has been opened in Manila, chiefly for the use of American soldiers and sailors. Many books and periodicals have been given and further contributions will be welcomed."26 The newly opened library was the American Circulating Library, which after its integration into the collection of the Museo-Biblioteca and further additions from private collections and government offices became the Philippine National Library. Library trends prevailing abroad were now channeled through the new colonial power into the Philippine library culture.27

The economic growth that the US experienced after the American Civil War (1861-1865) established the foundation of what we know today as librarianship. In the last quarter of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th, a wide range of ideas took root in the American library culture, through the support of tycoons like Andrew Carnegie. Public libraries and circulating libraries multiplied. The American Library Association was founded. Charles Coffin Jewett introduced his cataloging rules, and Melvil Dewey his classification System. The Library Journal was published and the first courses on librarianship organized. Most of these ideas were to reach the Philippines through the sacrifice and effort of a handful of pioneers.

The American government was committed to the establishment of a public education system and a strong public service in the Philippines,28 two areas in which library development made an impact. Libraries in government offices found financial support from the very beginning, but school libraries needed a determined and strong woman like Lois Stewart Osborn as a catalyzer. All other library developments were made possible through the initiative and effort of the American scholars and librarians who came to work for the US public service and the Filipino scholars who carried a tradition from the previous century.

Government officials sought innovation through a solid public service and prioritized the establishment in 1901 of what would later be called the Scientific Library. It was designed as a component of a central laboratory to serve various bureaus and departments of the Philippine Insular Government and given the appropriation of 46,290.66 dollars29 for its establishment. It grew fast, was always short of shelving space, and in 1934 subscribed30 to 2,519 journals and contained 149,360 bound and unbound volumes, rising to 357,000 before the outbreak of World War II.31

The American government's major thrust in the field of education sought to introduce democratic ideas through a modern and public educational system. The wholesale restructuring of society and its values was to be accomplished with a teaching force of around 3,700 teachers. Schools would number 4,531 in 1910, 5,944 in 1920, and 9,393 in 1948.32

School teachers started working under difficult conditions and with very limited resources. The few available books were of no use to the new teachers. Aware of this need, Lois Stewart Osborn, an English teacher assigned to the provincial capital of Pampanga, started a personal campaign that culminated in the establishment of the first Philippine school library system.33 By 1932, there were 4,947 libraries in the public schools with a total of 2,215,796 books in their shelves.34 Still, standards were not the same in all the school libraries,35 but 30 years of work had yielded an impressive record.

Perhaps the development of a public library system was not that rewarding. Public libraries had grown intimately linked to the National Library since 1916.36 Reliable reports, in an effort to clarify confusing statistics,37 stated that the National Library in 1934, with its 15 branches and 11 traveling libraries, had 188,474 bound volumes plus pamphlets and manuscripts. In 1941, there were 18 provincial and city libraries all over the Philippines.38 How can we possibly compare this number with the 4,947 public school libraries of 1932? A rather meager budget for both the development of a National Library and a public library system had forced a policy of priorities. Although the Law of June 3, 1908, provided for the establishment of a Philippine Public Library, it was only intended for the development of a National Library as a repository of Philippine history and culture. In 1908, the law39 appropriated the sum of 3,000 pesos for the acquisition of new library materials and another 3,000 pesos for securing suitable quarters. By 1934, the annual budget40 had gone up to only 7,700 pesos. Necessarily, the National Library had to secure additional funding41 from the Insular Government, which helped increase the collection to 733,000 volumes in 1941.42 The National Library had built a collection, but the public library system could do very little with severely limited resources.

Nonetheless, a revolution in Philippine library culture had started. American pioneers introduced modern library standards, while Filipinos contributed with their collections, scholarly support, and leadership.43 The scholarly approach to libraries was a tradition in Filipino bibliophiles and scholars like Josí Artigas y Cuerva, Teodoro Kalaw, Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, Epifanio de los Santos, and others. But the foundation of Philippine librarianship was forged by Lois Osborn, Mary Polk, and James Robertson in 1914, through the establishment of library courses in the University of the Philippines and the Philippine Normal School.44 These courses were intended to supply new libraries with trained staff, but it was necessary to complete the formation of selected students in professional schools outside the country. Then, Lois Osborn and Mary Polk worked45 to obtain fellowship grants from the US government. In 1919, four fellow scholars or pensionados (Gabriel Bernardo, Eulogio Rodríguez, Cirilo Pérez, and Jose Munda) left the islands to continue their studies in the University of Wisconsin. Others followed,46 preparing the new graduates to assume leadership in the country.

The merging of modern trends and the rise of Filipino librarians consolidated through the initiative of Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, culminating in the establishment of the Philippine Library Association (PLA) in 1923. PLA was intended to be a forum and a regulatory body, but needed some time to gain recognition and experience. The organization of the first national convention for librarians and the first national book week in 1934 set two milestones, but better communication between the private and public sectors was wanting. PLA gave priority to the need for professional librarians, funds, and library services in libraries under government control47 and was then unable to reach a poorly represented private sector.48

The universe of the private sector comprised an expanding number of schools and universities, a few business libraries, private collections, and libraries in the houses of religious institutions. In 1941, there were 19 private colleges and universities.49 Their libraries had grown from small collections, managed by working students and faculty, to comprehensive holdings, maintained by trained librarians and organized according to the new trends. With a few exceptions, however, this transformation was slow. The exceptions were the University of Santo Tomás-which started offering library courses50 in 1932; the Ateneo de Manila-praised51 as one of the best organized libraries in the Philippines; the College of San Beda52 and a few others. Again, the problem was basic: the need for professional staff and training courses. Private school were in similar straits.

As far as we know, the libraries of the religious institutions were mostly scholarly collections, which together with their archives maintained a more traditional library organization. Private collectors, following similar patterns, emphasized rarity and curiosity. Both were managed by non professional staff.

At the conclusion of this chapter, the historical analysis shows a refreshing change of pace: librarianship is fostered by library pioneers, nurtured in library schools, and consolidated through association.

Modern Libraries for the Philippine Republic (from 1946 to Today)

Gregorio Zaide, a qualified eyewitness of World War II in his capacity as a historian, testified: "The outbreak of World War II in the Philippines in December 1941 tolled the death-knell of almost all the rich depositories of Filipiniana materials in the country. At war's end, the Philippines became a desolate country of ruins, the ex-tent of the devastation being equaled only by the extensively-bombed city of Warsaw in Poland."53

The National Library saved only 36,600 volumes out of 733,000. The Scientific Library was totally destroyed. The same fate befell the collection of the University of the Philippines, which out of 147,000 volumes recovered only 3,000, returned by borrowers after the liberation. Other government libraries, school libraries, and scholarly collections in religious houses, and in most of the private universities were also destroyed or looted.54 (The University of Santo Tomás was one of the few that had the great fortune of weathering the armed conflict and saving its collection.) The almost total destruction of these libraries during World War II severely depleted the country's scholarly resources and turned the second half of the century into a harrowing journey towards modernization.

The Republic of the Philippines was solemnly inaugurated in the morning of July 4, 1946. But, the newly constituted nation had to struggle for years to recover part of her historical heritage and to build up the new library institutions of today. During this half-century, libraries in the Philippines had undergone re-establishment, organization, and modernization, three stages that provide a fitting division of our analysis into historical periods.

Postwar rehabilitation posed grave problems, and libraries were among the last in the scale of priorities. Without the benefit of a clear library rehabilitation plan, the first initiatives collected books through the United States Information Service (USIS).55 The books distributed among the public libraries did not suit the needs of readers,56 but the University of the Philippines obtained three large shipments of important publications57 through the University of Michigan and the University of Southern California at Los Angeles.

Within the Philippine Council for US Aid (PHILCUSA), a different initiative shaped up in 1951.58 Statistical experts found a disorganized library, which held back the progress of rehabilitation projects. To solve the problem, the conference of 1952 proposed a plan for the improvement of library services outlined in a five-stage draft: (1) regular meetings; (2) cooperative organization and cataloguing; (3) the compilation of a union catalog and a union list; (4) the publication of a monthly listing of combined acquisitions; and (5) cooperation with other government agencies. The implementation of this plan was assigned to a new department, the Interdepartmental Reference Service (IDRS), which spearheaded the establishment of the Association of Special Libraries of the Philippines (ASLP) in 1954. ASLP was represented by government and private libraries and established a linkage between the private and public sectors.

The implementation of rehabilitation programs relied heavily on training and cooperation. From 1950 to 1970, the Philippines developed library training programs and courses, completed with master's degree studies abroad, and constituted associations, cooperatives, and regulatory bodies. Schools offering library courses were usually absorbed by the academic departments of Liberal Arts and Education. As the number of universities offering library sciences courses grew, little by little professional librarians replaced non professional staff in postwar Philippine libraries. In 1961, through the creation of the Institute of Library Science in the University of the Philippines,59 the foremost leading and innovative educational institution in the country, the first master's-degree program was offered in the Philippines. Soon after, other library schools followed.

It is not surprising to see how the growing body of library professionals has influenced librarianship in the country, establishing or reinforcing the Philippine Library Association (PLA), the Association of Special Libraries of the Philippines (ASLP), the Philippine Association of School Libraries (PASL), the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU), the Philippine Accrediting Association of School, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU), and others.60 Many of them became accrediting bodies, starting a campaign for standards, which were very much needed in a country that had suffered from natural calamities, a weak infrastructure, and the devastating effects of World War II. This on-going campaign has already yielded many fruits but still needs continued support. The latest fruit is Republic Act No. 6966, which regulates the practice of librarianship through a board examination, thereby raising the profession to public recognition and scrutiny.

Library growth and development in the Philippines has shown the profession's determined will and passion. The National Library has grown to over a million volumes from a salvaged collection of 36,600 titles, rebuilding much of the Philippine historical heritage by purchasing private collections. There are now 545 public libraries, still few for a country like the Philippines, comprising a collection of over 700,000 volumes. The University of the Philippines System boasts of 900,000 titles in its holdings. The University of Santo Tomás has 400,000 volumes in the library of its España campus. Other university libraries have an average collection of 150,000 volumes, and colleges 50,000. Public and private special libraries have multiplied by the hundreds, showing good control over their resources and offering extensive and sophisticated services to their patrons. Over 200 libraries contain rare Filipiniana materials, enhanced by private collectors who have built impressive scholarly collections. Then there are thousands of private and public school libraries which, with varied holdings and standards, need close supervision by accrediting boards to ensure curriculum support.

New forms of regional and international cooperation have resulted in the involvement of libraries of government agencies in regional and international projects. Through research and information sharing, these agencies collaborate with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Agricultural Bank for Asia (AIBA), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and others in the process of project planning and implementation. This new phenomenon is growing fast and has inspired collaborative initiatives within the country.

Technological progress has introduced a new library trend in the Philippines: the automation of library services. Library automation is not really new (it has been available since the 1970s), but only a few libraries could afford expensive computer systems and hardware. The economic growth of the Philippines during this decade and the commercialization of computer software have prepared the ground. Special libraries were the first ones to prioritize automation in their budgets, and academic institutions have since followed. The country is still far from offering highly technical services as a whole, but the phenomenon of library automation is spreading fast and the demand for library automation systems increasing.

At the turn of the millennium, the collections and services of Philippine libraries reflect both the national identity and the country's level of technical development. Much still needs to be done. The immediate need in the Philippine Republic, as a young nation of only half a century of existence, is a supportive plan of modernization in non-urban areas, comprising training, funding, and cooperation. History speaks for itself. The enthusiasm of a few can change a country when their efforts are channeled into training, cooperation, and association. And a strong will is necessary when circumstances are most trying.


  1. The modern period starts with the introduction of contemporary library trends into the Philippines. The distinction between the colonial and modern periods does not follow the classical division of Philippine history into periods of colonization (Spanish, American) and independence (republican).
  2. From the narration of Antonio Pigafetta-an Italian passenger who reported on the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan in the French edition of Le voyage et navigation faict par les espaignols (Paris: 1525); translation by Paula Spurlin Paige from the edition in the William L. Clements Library, The Voyage of Magellan the Journal of Antonio Pigafetta (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1969). Magellan's ships sailed from Samar to Palawan, passing through Sumatra and Brunei. The first account describes the surprise of the inhabitants of Sumatra when they saw Antonio writing (Pigafetta, 21; Paige, 40). Some time later, and after landing on Palawan, Magellan's men reached the city of Brunei. They were invited to visit the city and the King who maintained ten scribes to write down all his doings (Pigafetta, 49; Paige, 95). These testimonies show that writing was not widely spread in Southeast Asia. Writing seems to have been a novelty in Sumatra, but at the same time was already an established practice among the scribes of the king of Brunei.
  3. For a general discussion, see José García Espallargas, "The Philippine Script at the Arrival of the Spaniards," Philippiniana Sacra 10, 28 (1975): 73-94.
  4. For a consultation of the sources, see Pedro Chirino, Relacion de las Islas Filipinas i de lo que en ellas an trabajado los padres dæ la Compañia de Iesus (Rome: Esteban Paulino, 1604); Antonio de Morga, Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, ed. José Rizal (Mexico, 1609; Paris: Librería de Garnier Hermanos, 1890); Francisco Colin, Labor evangelica, ministerios apostolicos de los obreros de la Compañia de Iesus, fundacion, y progressos de su Provincia en las Islas Filipinas (Madrid: Joseph Fernández de Buendia, 1663) and Colin-Pastells, Labor evangélica de los obreros de la Compañia de Jesus en las Islas Filipinas, ed. Pablo Pastells (Barcelona: Imprenta y Litografía de Henrich y Compañía, 1904); Francisco de San Antonio, Chronicas de la apostolica Provincia de S. Gregorio de religiosos descalzos de N.S.P. S. Francisco en las Islas Philipinas, China, Japon, & c. (Sampaloc, Convent of our Lady of Loreto: Franciscan Printing Press, by Fr. Juan de Sotillo, 1738). See also Emma Helen and James Alexander Robertson (BR), The Philippine Islands 1493-1898, 55 vols. (Cleveland, Ohio: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1903-1909; reprint, Mandaluyong: Cacho Hermanos, 1973), 1:44 n. 46 and 47, 12:241-42 and 263, 16:116 and 117 n. 135, 29:277 and 289, 40:5 and 69.
  5. Alberto Santamaría, "El 'Baybayin' en el archivo de Santo Tomás," De Unitas 16 (1938): 5-7; MS in the archives of the University of Santo Tomás (UST) in Manila.
  6. "Know ye that much harm results from taking to the Indies books in the vernacular of profane and imaginative character such as those of Amadis and others of this type of lying histories, because the Indians able to read turn to them, forsaking works of sound and proper doctrine; from these false tales they learn evil practices and vices. Moreover, since they do not know that those frivolous books were written about what did not happen, it is possible that the authenticity and authority of our Holy Scriptures and the writings of learned saints may suffer because, since they [the Indians] are not firmly grounded in the faith, they may regard all books of equal truth and authority. To do away with these and other objections I command you not to permit or allow any book of this sort to go to our Indies. You will take all necessary pre-cautions so that, neither as contraband nor in any other way, shall these books be taken, since this is for the service of God our Lord" (Recopilacion de leyes de los reynos de las Indias. Mandada imprimir y publicar por la Magestad Catolica del Rey Don Carlos I [Madrid: Antonio Balbas, 1756], 1:123-24).
  7. A search for secular literature from the 16th and 17th century in the oldest collections in Metro Manila did not yield a single title. The only existing record of 16th century fiction and secular literature in the Philippines was discovered by Irving Leonard among some Inquisition papers in Mexico. For an extended discussion, see Irving A. Leonard, Books of the Brave (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1949), 228.
  8. Letter from Bishop Salazar to Philip II on June 18, 1583, containing a reference to the destruction of "a very good library" in the fire which destroyed his living quarters (Pedro Torres y Lanzas, Catálogo de los documentos relativos a las Islas Filipinas. Precedido de una historia general de Filipinas por Pablo Pastells, S.J. [Barcelona, 1925], 2:189; quoted in Leonard, Books of the Brave, 239-40).
  9. The earliest books printed in the Philippines using the xylographic method are the Hsin-k'o seng-shih Kao-mu Hsien chuam Wu-chi t'ien-chu cheng-chiao chen chuan shih-lu, or Shih-lu, dated March, 1593, found in the Biblioteca Nacional of Spain, and the Library of Congress' copy of a Doctrina Christiana in Tagalog printed in 1593. It is not know which one of them was the first work printed in Philippine territory. For an extended discussion, see Van der Loon, "The Manila Incunabula and Early Hokkien Studies," Asia Major: A British Journal of Far Eastern Studies 12 (1966): 1-43.
  10. The unknown printer of the Doctrina Christiana in Spanish and Tagalog or the Shih-lu in classical Chinese. Opinion held by the author of this article in History of Books and Libraries in the Philippines, 1521-1900 (Manila: The National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 1996), 36-37, based on the historical account of Diego Aduarte, Historia de la Provincia del Sancto Rosario de la Orden de Predicadores en Philippinas, Iapon, y China (Manila: College of Santo Tomás, by Luis Beltrán, 1640).
  11. The first book printed using the typo-graphic method in the Philippines was the Libro de las quatro postrimerias del hombre en lengua Tagala, y letra Expañola written by Fr. Francisco Blancas de San José in 1604 or 1605. For an extended discussion, see José López del Castillo y Kabangis, "El impreso tipográfico príncipe filipino," Oficina de Bibliotecas Públicas: Manuales de Información 8 (1956): 1-69. See also Gabriel Adriano Bernardo, Philippine Retrospective National Bibliography: 1523-1699 (Manila: The National Library of the Philippines, 1974).
  12. This thesis was proposed by Wenceslao Emilio Retana y Gamboa in his work, Orígenes de la imprenta en Filipinas (Madrid: Librería General de Victoriano Suárez, 1911), and it has not yet been refuted.
  13. Records of Fort St. George, collected in the Manilha Consultations, 1762-1764 (Madras: 1940-1946); Charles R. Boxer, "A Collection of Documents Looted at Manila in 1762-64," Philippine Historical Review 3 (1970): 120-26.
  14. José Luis Comellas, Historia de España moderna y contemporanea (1474-1975) (Madrid: Ediciones Rialp, 1985), 355, 360.
  15. See BR, The Philippine Islands, 52:307-24; "Real Sociedad de Amigos del País," bundle, G1-R20B, the Philippine National Archives (PNA); María Luisa Rodríguez Baena, La Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País de Manila en el siglo XVIII (Sevilla: Escuela de Estudios Hispano-Americanos de Sevilla, 1966).
  16. Hipólito Escolar, Historia de las bibliotecas (Madrid: Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez, 1990), 433-43.
  17. Royal decree of July 17, 1858 (ibid., 441).
  18. In 1869, the Spanish minister Jose Echegaray established and promoted popular libraries (ibid., 443-447), which were created in the Philippines by the Royal order of 1871 and the Decree of 1873 (Daniel Grífol y Aliaga, La instrucción primaria en Filipinas [Manila: Tipo-Litografía de Chofré y Comp, 1894], 229).
  19. Ibid., 242 and chap. 5.
  20. "There is no public library established in Manila." The Sociedad Económica was performing the function of a public library (Ramón González Fernández, Anuario filipino para 1877 [Manila: Establecimiento Tipográfico de Plana y C., 1877], 131, 275).
  21. Census Office of the Philippine Islands, Census of the Philippine Islands (Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1921), 7-9.
  22. See History of Books and Libraries, by the author of this article, 68-74.
  23. Ibid.
  24. The author of this article, "Books and Libraries in Ilocos during the Spanish Colonial Period," The Ilocos Review (1998), 52-77.
  25. The University of Santo Tomás was the only official university in the Philippines. It had colleges of theology, civil and canon law, medicine, pharmacy, physico-mathematical sciences, philosophy and letters.
  26. The Library Journal 24, 8 (August 1899): 498.
  27. General sources of data and opinions are collected from three important works: Proceedings of the First National Book Week and the 1934 Librarian's Convention (referred to as Proceedings in the subsequent notes), The Philippine Library Association, vol. 1 (Manila: [The Philippine Library Association], 1935); Gabriel Bernardo, "Libraries in the Philippines," Philippine Library Journal 1 (June, July, and August 1952); and Concordia Sánchez, "Libraries in the Philippines," Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Supplement 1, vol. 36 (New York: Marcel Dekker, 1983). The authors of these works are qualified eyewitnesses who took an active part in the development of Philippine librarianship.
  28. For an extended discussion, see Lewis E. Gleeck, American Institutions in the Philippines (1898-1941), Historical Conservation Society, vol. 28 (Manila: R.P. García Publishing Co., 1976).
  29. See Mary Polk, "Editorial," Philippine Journal of Science V, A, 1 (January 1910): 45-53, the librarian of the Scientific Library from 1901 to 1924.
  30. Cirilo B. Pérez, "The Scientific Library Division, Its History, Organization and Functions," Proceedings, 81.
  31. Gabriel Bernardo, Philippine Library Journal (June 1952): 15.
  32. Gleeck, American Institution, 34.
  33. For a narrative account, see Lois Stewart Osborn, "An Adventure in Dreams," The Library Mirror 1-1 (May 1929): 12-14; 1-2 (July 1929): 31-33.
  34. John W. Osborn, "Books and Bookselling in the Philippines," Proceedings, 56.
  35. For an elaboration on this opinion, see J. Scott McCormick, "School Libraries in the Philippines," Proceedings, 59-66.
  36. Act No. 2572 of 1916, as incorporated in the Administrative Code of 1917, is considered the organic law of public libraries in the Philippines (Eustaquio G. Aquino, "Library Legislation in the Philippines," Proceedings, 68).
  37. Statistical reports in 1918 said that there were 360 public libraries with 576,142 volumes (Census Office, Census of the Philippine Islands Taken under the Direction of the Philippine Legislature in the Year 1918 [Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1921], vol. 4, pt. 3, 8). But John Osborn questioned it, pointing out that only 15 public libraries existed in 1934. He explained that perhaps the 360 public libraries included private and religious schools libraries of a semi-public nature (Proceedings, 55-6). See also Sánchez, Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, 413.
  38. Sánchez, Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, 422.
  39. Aquino, Proceedings, 67-73.
  40. Lois Stewart Osborn, "Children's Libraries," Proceedings, 40
  41. In 1934, the expenses incurred in the development of the collection reached 343,800 pesos (Aquino, Proceedings, 73).
  42. Bernardo, Philippine Library Journal (June), 15.
  43. For a biographical sketch of library pioneers and scholars, see E. Arsenio Manuel, Dictionary of Philippine Biography, 3 vols. (Quezon City: Filipiniana Publications: 1955, 1970).
  44. Sánchez, Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, 408, 409.
  45. Osborn, The Library Mirror, 33.
  46. Isidoro Saniel, Isaac Lucero, and Ismael Mallari.
  47. See also, Gabriel Bernardo, "Library Problems at Hand," Proceedings, 103-6; Melchor Villanueva, "Our Public School Libraries," Proceedings, 127-32.
  48. See also, Librada del Castillo, "Libraries of Private Educational Institutions," Proceeding, 124-5.
  49. Sánchez, Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, 430.
  50. Candida Agcaoili, "Fifty Years of Library Education in the University of Santo Tomás," in 50th Anniversary, Library Education in UST, Souvenir Program (Manila: UST Library Science Alumni Association, 1982).
  51. Monroe Educational Survey of the United States Government in 1924; quoted in James Donelan, The Guidon, 2 February 1966, 7.
  52. Manuel Artigas y Cuerva, Reseña historica de la Real y Pontífical Universidad de Sto. Tomás de Manila dedicada al tercer centenario de esta insigne institución (Manila: [UST], 1914) 110.
  53. Zaide, Documentary Sources, 1, v-vi.
  54. Bernardo, Philippine Library Journal (June), 15.
  55. The United States Information Service (USIS) became the Thomas Jefferson Cultural Center in 1962 (Sánchez, Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, 464-5).
  56. Ibid., 422.
  57. Encyclopedia Americana, 1947 ed., 17:326; quoted in Bernardo, Philippine Library Journal (July-August), 13.
  58. Sánchez, Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, 449-53.
  59. Rosa M. Vallejo, "Philippine Librarianship: a Historical Perspective" (paper, Inaugural Lecture, Eulogio B. Rodriguez Memorial Lecture Series, Manila, the National Library, 3 April 1981).
  60. See Sánchez, Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science.


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