10 Must-Visit Libraries in Metro Manila

IMAGE Ortigas Foundation Library Facebook/Filipinas Heritage Library Facebook

Raise your hand if you miss college if only for the comprehensive selection of literary greats and hard-to-find titles in the library. We had all the time in the world to take home and read the whole Harry Potter series, all the books of Nick Joaquin, and even old Pugad Baboy comics back in the day.

Good thing we have libraries in Metro Manila that are open to the public. Take note of these if ever you find the time to satisfy your craving for the printed word.

National Library of the Philippines

The country's "repository of printed and recorded cultural heritage" announced in August 2016 that the use of the P100-library card has been waived. This allows everyone to access thousands of materials for free, as long as you have a valid ID. Before your visit, you can also check their Online Public Access Catalog to see if they have what you need. The National Library of the Philippines also offers services for copyright registration.


CCP Library and Archives

This treasure trove of Philippine arts and culture takes pride in having a number of art books, film and theater scripts, and film reels of old Filipino movies. You can find memorabilia such as certificates, medals, and trophies donated by art scholars and renowned artists such as Lino Brocka, Nicanor Abelardo, and Felipe De Leon. The library waived its entrance fee (P25) in 2013 so anyone can now access the masterpiece of these Filipino greats.

Aurelio Montinola, Jr. Library

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Alliance française de Manille's local library immerses you in French culture through its collection of 8,000 novels, comics, magazines, DVDs, and documents. You can also bring your nieces and nephews and let them have some fun at the Kid's Corner. Non-members and members alike can access the multimedia library, but the latter has the option to take home four books and return them after three weeks. Membership fee is at P2,271.

Filipinas Heritage Library

Filipinas Heritage Library houses over 13,000 books and documents on Philippine history, art, language, religion, and the social sciences. You can even find rare documents archived through microfiche, old maps of the Philippines, and never-before-seen photographs. The library sometimes hosts poetry readings, lectures on publishing and writing, and exhibits. Non-members have to pay a P100 research fee, which is good for one day, but members (P1,500/year) have unlimited access to both the Filipinas Heritage Library and the Ayala Museum.


Goethe-Institut Manila

Aside from offering German language classes and hosting film festivals, Goethe-Institut Manila also houses a library to promote German culture and encourage international cultural exchange. It features English translations of books by German authors in various fields, German dailies and magazines, DVDs of German feature films and documentaries, and other multimedia-based materials to aid the study of German as a foreign language. It is open to the general public free of charge, but only members (P500/year) can take home books for borrowing.

Miguel Hernández Library 

Opened in 1993, the Miguel Hernández Library has more than 20,000 documents, literature, and audio-visual materials focusing on the language and culture of Spain and Spanish-speaking countries. You can listen to their collection of Spanish music and radio and watch Spanish television. It is open to anyone, but members have the privilege of borrowing up to four books for two weeks.

Jose P. Laurel Memorial Foundation's Library and Museum

The Jose P. Laurel Memorial Foundation was created in 1960 with the vision of recognizing the former president's endeavors and achievements. It houses a library on the second floor where documents on Philippine history as well as works by Dr. Jose. P. Laurel can be found.


Lopez Museum and Library

Lopez Museum and Library, considered as the oldest privately owned museum and library specializing in Philippine materials, features over 20,000 titles in its catalogue. This includes scholarly works obtained and purchased by Don Eugenio López during his travels all over America, Europe, and the Philippines. Most of these are on voyages, early explorations, and ethnic groups in the country, such as Bartolome Juan Leonardo y Argensola’s The discovery and conquest of the Molucco and Philippine Islands and James Burney’s A chronological history of the voyages and discoveries in the South Sea. Admission fee is at P100.

Ortigas Foundation Library

Incorporated in 1996, Ortigas Foundation Library has a collection of almost 21,000 books, images, and documents on Philippine history. This includes the personal reference library of renowned historian Dr. Gregorio F. Zaide and 8,000 titles from the Rafael Ortigas family. It also houses a 1767 edition of George Anson's Voyage Round the World, which has copperplate engravings and maps. Admission is free.

Quezon City Public Library

The newly inaugurated Quezon City Public Library breaks those stereotypes you may have about outdated government offices and agencies. Their two-storey building features a fully automated system, from the Online Public Access Catalogue to an e-book facility. The first floor houses the reference section, periodicals, and a children's corner, while the second floor is allotted for law research, function halls, and multimedia services. It even has its own café!


This story originally appeared on Spot.phMinor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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