■ Ofelia C. Empian
Amid polarizing views by netizens on persons overstaying at coffee shops to study, the Baguio City Library is offering its doors for anyone in need of a place to review or do their homework in peace.
City Librarian Easter Wahayna-Pablo said going to the library is a budget-friendly way to study, especially for learners who could stay at the facility for extended periods of time.
Aside from providing a space to study, clients could avail of the free services offered by the library.
Pablo said library users can access WiFi where they could also use the computers for their online research, as well as for online classes and reviews. She said librarians can also assist clients who are technologically-challenged, as part of their digital and computer literacy program. It also offers free printing maximum of 20 pages. Clients need only to bring their own bond paper.
“There are many who message us, saying they passed the board or Bar exams with the help of the City Library. We have previous posts about it, and others don’t want to be in the limelight, but they come and say thank you to us,” Pablo said.
On average, the City Library accommodates 150 people daily, which could reach up to 300, as people come and go at different times.
The increasing number of clients affects the WiFi speed that why clients are asking the city government to increase the bandwidth of the City Library.
There are posts circulating in social media criticizing the habit of some in occupying tables at cafes and restaurants to study for long hours, while ordering only one drink or having few orders. While this system is being allowed by some coffee shops with a large seating capacity, the habit does not sit well with small cafe owners due to the limited seats they offer.
Pablo said the library does not offer food and drinks to clients, but there is a cafeteria near the library where they can avail of food. They allowed bringing in of food, but reminded clients to observe cleanliness in every facility of the library including the toilet.
Clients are reminded to register to the library database and to charge their gadgets prior to going there, as charging is not allowed.
She said there are generous people who donated a water dispenser being used to provide free drinking water to all users, however they ask a voluntary “piso mula sa puso (peso from the heart)” from clients for its sustainability. But sometimes, she said she has to shell out her own money to buy the water.
Pablo, a multi-awarded librarian, received last year the “most participative innovator with highest honor award” during the convention spearheaded by the National Library of the Philippines and the Network of Emerging Filipino Library Innovators.
It was a fitting award for she has led the city library in conducting regular storytelling at the park every Saturday, regular LibTalk on Fridays, free tutorials on Math and English, free guitar lessons during summer vacations, seminars and webinars on various topics, digital literacy, and thematic contests, among others.
One of the ongoing contests is the parent and child online storytelling. All these activities are aimed at bringing back the love for reading, hence, the use of libraries.
These activities are made possible through their regular partnership with volunteers, advocates, NGOs, government agencies, on-the-job trainees, and students who volunteer as part of their immersion, among others.
The City Library is open from Monday to Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Sundays and holidays. Its official Facebook account is Baguio City Public Library and its email is [email protected].