Manila Library Tour: UP & Ateneo

Last March 16-17, we had a tour in notable university libraries in Manila for our subject in MLIS 607, Advanced Library Management. We went to UP, Ateneo, UST, MAPUA, National Museum, and De La Salle. There were many setbacks but we managed to push through with the tour. We did learn a lot from these libraries and their librarians. For students of Library Science, educational tours to other libraries are a must. Through tours, we gain new ideas for services and can ask other libraries about their problems and best practices. We've seen the latest library technology and also great historical resources still preserved for centuries. It was a great learning experience!

I will divide the posts about the tour into three: this first part for UP and Ateneo, the second for UST, and the third/last for MAPUA and La Salle.

Our first stop was Quezon City, where UP and Ateneo are located. Both are considered to be the top universities in our country, and as expected, their libraries also have top-notch services and resources.

University of the Philippines Diliman - Main Library

Our first stop to kickstart our tour was UP Diliman. Who doesn't feel the heavy weight of UP? This is where the brightest minds of our country hail from, where the newest and brightest ideas are exchanged. Anywhere in the country, 'Iskolar ng Bayan' are respected. Of course, we also expect that their library would be in par with the university's reputation.

UP Diliman Library also known as The University Library is the key information resource for learning, research and scholarship in UP Diliman. It was established in 1922 with over 94 years of library and information service to UP. The library is located at Gonzalez Hall, Apacible Street, UP Diliman, Quezon City.

Technology Tools:
UP ILib is the online public access catalog of the UP Library System. This is an in-house software developed and maintained by their library staff. UP ILib is also a good source of cataloging information for libraries all over the country.

LibRadio (Librarians sa Radyo) is a radio program made for latest updates and happenings in the library. It is airing at DZUP 1602 kHz every Wednesday, 12:00-1:00PM or online at

In their official website, there are links to electronic databases, e-resources, and online journals published by UP. This is not only a big help for researchers in UP but to other researchers all over the country and the world. They have one convenient interface where users can search. Online journals are also available and students can access information through their devices without the need to go in the actual physical library.

Index to Philippine Newspapers  Online (IPN Online) and Index to Philippine Periodicals Online (IPP Online) are automated, searchable indexes of Philippine newspapers and periodicals.

In the Archives section, important documents are also being digitized. Due to the Faculty Center fire accident, the library is also taking precautions in preserving important documents and take measures in disaster management.

Social Media: the library is also active in social media. They use this to engage with users and promote their services.

Though they are not considered ‘new technology’, the library also preserves their microfilm and VHS collections. Microfilm readers are still available for use, and films in VHS are still shown during regular film showings in the library lobby.

The UP Library is a pioneer in library technology. Their online services not only help UP students, but also researchers all over the country. Their tools like iLib, IPP, and IPN are also an enormous help to local libraries. Online technologies need budget, expertise, and manpower in order to operate, and the UP Libraries make the most of their resources. I can say that UP can also claim to have one of the best libraries in country, an example that other libraries and librarians should also follow.

After leaving the magnificent yet old building of UP Main Library, we headed to the very modern Rizal Library of Ateneo de Manila.

Ateneo de Manila University - Rizal Library

The Rizal Library is named after our national hero, Jose Rizal, who also attended Ateneo de Manila University. I was quite surprised to see water inside and outside the library structure, this is a part of a water conservation system that uses rainwater for the building. We were greeted with this cute Rizal (not with the Pikachu, though):

Technology Tools:
Their library website has a convenient interface and a single search box for all possible inquiries, not just the online catalog. The Library’s Integrated Library System uses TLC. Their OPAC is available at

The Library also has off-campus online access for their online services. Students and other users can access ScienceDirect, JSTOR, Euromonitor, and all of the Rizal Library's other online databases from home.

The Rizal Library also publishes the CIPPA, the Computerized Index to Philippine Periodical Articles. The Library also produces periodicals in CDs and microfilm, which they sell as a product to libraries all over the country. They also digitize their historical collections such as the American Historical Collection, and their archives have up-to-date facilities for preservation.

In Social media, they are also active in answering Reference queries through Facebook and Twitter. They really ask for their users’ feedback to offer the best service according to their customers’ opinions and needs.

This is Mr. Von Totanes a.k.a. The Filipino Librarian (a blog that inspired me to take up librarianship) sitting on the stairs of the Rizal Library. On their staircase are the spines of books published by Ateneans (and on the upper floors, childrens' books and films, too!), it was a project by a Fine Arts student. 

The Ateneo de Manila is my ideal library. You can see that they fully use technology and they try to keep up with the digital generation. Their services are great and as a place, you could stay there for hours! But of course, they have a library fee of around 7,000 pesos per semester, so they can afford to have these kind of services. But a resourceful librarian can also make the most of what he or she has, especially in today's reality of shrinking budgets and competing with the internet. 

Next, we go to UST Libraries, MAPUA, and La Salle. We will see the amazing heritage library of UST, who preserves and restores centuries-old books. Tune in for the next parts!

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