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  • Real Jhon Castillon

Hey, kids! Go to these public libraries instead



If you’re living in Davao City then you probably know by now that there are two public libraries that have opened their doors to the public already. One is located at Tagum City, Davao del Norte and other one will soon be opening at Davao City along the busy streets of Ponciano.

Source: Tagum City Historical and Cultural Center Facebook

Tagum City Library along with Kagikan Museum had officially opened last April 5, 2021. These two facilities are part of the Tagum City Historical and Cultural Center. Patrons can visit these facilities from Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM, except for Kagikan Museum which is closed every Monday. As of writing, access to Tagum City library now comes at an affordable price through their Library Card which you can avail at P100 valid for a year already. Due to the ongoing battle against COVID-19, the library can only accommodate a certain number of visitors on a daily.

Source: Davao Construction

On the other hand, the Davao City Library and Information Center via the City Government of Davao’s Facebook page teased the newly improved and renovated public library last May 27, 2021. Although no official opening date has been announced yet but as what the caption of the post suggests, “we’re getting closer” to it. And looking at the photos, we can’t help but feel hyped and elated.

Why are Public Spaces such as Libraries So Important?

For bookworms like us, having these public libraries within the city not only gives us access to an unlimited worlds brought by these books but also a safe space for us to geek over certain facts and become our true bookworm selves. Aside from that, these public libraries will open doors to those who do not have the luxury to buy a book of their choice due to budget constraints. Plus, these libraries will also be a perfect venue for street kids or adults who do not have the privilege to go to school and study.

In an article written by Marcela Cabello and Stuart M. Butler as published in Brookings, 15% of the visitors in San Francisco Public Library are homeless. Additionally, in the same article, many considered public libraries as welcoming and friendly places according to a survey conducted last 2015.

Indeed, public libraries bring comfort and camaraderie especially to a growing and fast-changing community. They become one’s go-to escape place when life gets overwhelming sometimes. As stated by State of Library by Iowa, “libraries give people the opportunity to find jobs, explore medical research, experience new ideas, get lost in wonderful stories, while at the same time providing a sense of place for gathering.”

And with public libraries such as the one that we have here in Davao region, it’s only right that we make use of it. After all, it’s ours or the taxpayer’s money that they used to materialize such. So go use it however you want. Just simply abide the rules that they have set in utilizing it though.

What We Hope of these Public Libraries to Become in the Long Run?

Given its accessibility to the public, we only want our public libraries to be of these few things; one, a place free of prejudice and discrimination. We don’t want to have another Isla Reta mishmash where a transwoman was denied of using the female bathroom because according to the staff of that resort, she’s still considered as a man. Despite the transwoman’s pleas about how she had already undergone a surgery, and therefore is considered a woman. In this case, may our public libraries be a venue and a safe space for all — street children who simply just want to hold or read a book, a homeless person looking for a temporary shelter while the rain pours harder outside, a trans person who wants to use the bathroom according to his/her SOGIE (Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression) — and a place where everyone can be who they want to be.

Second, an avenue for open and healthy discourse through seminars and monthly activities. This could also be a perfect way to strengthen the relationship of the library and its patrons. Through these speaking engagements and events, one could simply feel the openness of the library to everyone regardless of status, race, and gender.

Last but not the least, an avenue for artists especially self-published authors to promote their art or book. These libraries could organize an open call for submissions of artworks or any written material for a once-in-a-lifetime grant. Or they could simply provide funds for acclaimed and budding artists to publish and sell their works.

We could go on and on but for now, these are some of the things that public libraries here in Davao region should probably take note of. And two months had passed since it opened, and already, Tagum City Library is slowly crossing off the list. Davao City Library, we’ve got our eyes on you.

© The Middle Mag PH