We have a question for you. Do you still read books? It’s pretty cool if you still do, especially with the internet these days. The world wide web may have it all, but sometimes, nothing can beat the feel of a solid book in your hands.
You might think that reading actual books isn’t an easy hobby to keep these days. Books don’t exactly come cheap and yuppies in particular no longer have the benefit of having a school library they can freely enter.
Fortunately, there are libraries scattered all over Metro Manila that are open to the public! Some are government libraries, some are privately owned. Some have a larger collection of books, some are more curated and limited. Whatever the case is, there’s a library out there for everyone and here are five of those you can check out!
1. Goethe-Institut Philippines Library
Believe it or not, there are libraries you can go to if you want to learn about a specific country. Take the Goethe-Institut Philippines Library as an example. But before we get to that, here’s a brief description of the Goethe-Institut first.
The Goethe-Institut is Germany’s cultural institute and its offices can be found in different countries around the globe. Goethe-Institut Philippines in particular is located in Makati and it’s also where you can find the institute’s library, where you can learn more about the German language, history, and culture.
If you’re interested in anything and everything Germany-related, we’re sure you’ll hit the jackpot with Goethe-Institut’s books, magazines, films, newspapers, and even games and mobile apps! Most of them have been translated to the English language but if you’re also trying to learn German, there are more than a handful of books that can help you out.
The library is open to the public and anyone can come to read its books and other materials. However, only those with valid membership cards can borrow books to bring home.
Goethe-Institut Philippines can be found on the G/F of the Adamson Centre, 121 Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati
2. Lopez Museum and Library
Inaugurated in 1960, the Lopez Museum and Library is the oldest privately owned museum and library in the country that focuses on Philippine material. The library alone houses a whopping number of more than 30,000 titles. A frequent traveler, Don Eugenio Lopez (the museum and library’s founder), collected rare books and manuscripts during his trips abroad. A good number of these rare finds are now part of the library’s collection.
Considering his love for travel, it’s no surprise that many of these books are about voyages, such as Alexander Dalrymple’s “A Historical Collection of Several Voyages and Discoveries on the South Pacific Ocean” and Bartolome Juan Leonardo y Argensola’s “The Discovery and Conquest of the Molucco and Philippine Islands”.
Here are some important things to remember if you’re planning to visit this library. First, the library is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm from Mondays to Saturdays. There’s also an admission fee of ₱100 for adults, ₱80 for senior citizens, teachers, and students from grade 7 to college, and ₱60 for students from grade 6 below. Valid IDs are required for senior citizens, teachers, and all students.
Lopez Museum and Library can be found on the G/F of the Benpres Building, Exchange Road corner Meralco Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig.
3. Manila City Library
Aiming to meet the educational needs of its citizens, the Manila City Library opened its doors on October 28, 1946. It was initially located in Mehan Garden in Ermita but was eventually relocated to Taft Avenue back in 2012.
As you might’ve already guessed, this government-owned library is free to the general public. However, reference books cannot be borrowed and taken home.
While the Manila City Library offers internet access, the requirements you need to submit might make you think twice about using it: two valid IDs, a filled out form, and a barangay certificate.
The Manila City Library can be found at 800 Taft Avenue, Manila.
4. National Library of the Philippines
No rundown of libraries in Metro Manila that are open to the public will ever be complete without the National Library of the Philippines. Founded on August 12, 1887 by a decree from the Spanish government, the National Library was initially called Museo-Biblioteca de Filipinas. It has gone through several name changes since then and only officially got its current name in 2010 thanks to Republic Act No. 10087.
Among the hundreds of thousands books, newspapers, and other materials in its collection, probably the most important of them all are the original copies of Jose Rizal’s most popular works, Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo, and Mi Ultimo Adios. But before you get too excited, they’re not displayed out in the open for everyone to see!
The National Library also offers some special services, such as copyright registration, ISBN registration, and ISSN registration.
The National Library of the Philippines can be found on T. M. Kalaw Street, Ermita, Manila.
5. Quezon City Public Library
The Quezon City Public Library will probably disappoint you if you’re expecting a dilapidated library with worn out books and outdated facilities. First founded in 1948, it is actually the largest public library in Metro Manila. There are 21 smaller libraries that can be found all over Quezon City as well as its two-storey main building that was inaugurated only last year.
The main building of the Quezon City Public Library has a fully automated system for the convenience of its users. Among the different sections you can find when you visit include the reference section, periodicals and government publications, law research, and Filipiniana and local history.
And do you know what the best part is? The Quezon City Public Library has a charging station and its own cafe! You’ll never run out of battery or go hungry while you’re here.
It’s important to take note that the library will issue a library card first before you can use its facilities. That means you shouldn’t forget to bring a 1×1 ID photo when you visit!
The Quezon City Public Library can be found inside the Quezon City Hall Compound, Mayaman Street, Barangay Central, Quezon City.