Active Promotion and Upliftment of the Librarianship Profession instead of Replacement and Relegation

Active Promotion and Upliftment of the Librarianship Profession instead of Replacement and Relegation

University of the Philippines School of Library and Information Studies 

(UP SLIS) on the Statements of National Library of the Philippines Executive Director Cesar Gilbert Adriano

On July 20, 2020, during the Congressional Budget Hearing of the Committee on Basic Education and Culture, the Executive Director of the National Library of the Philippines (NLP), Cesar Gilbert Q. Adriano: 

-stated that there were no educational institutions in the provinces that offer programs in library and information science, and as a consequence;

-recommended hiring non-licensed librarians to fill up the proposed regular position for public librarians within the organizational structure of every local government unit (LGU) in the country.

Although the proposal of Dir. Adriano to include the position of ‘public librarian’ as a regular and permanent post in all LGUs echoes a long-standing clamor of licensed librarians who are working in public libraries to be acknowledged and be given security of tenure, his proposal to hire non-licensed librarians, nevertheless, relegates the public librarian position to a regular government position that does not require the expertise and education that a library and information science (LIS) graduate possesses. This relegation goes against the provisions of Republic Act (R.A.) 9246 or The Philippine Librarianship Act of 2003 that regulates the practice of the profession, and the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. 7743 (An Act Providing for the Establishment of Congressional, City and Municipal Libraries and Barangay Reading Centers throughout the Philippines, Appropriating the Necessary Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes).

It is appalling that the leadership of the National Library of the Philippines is unaware that there are more than 80 academic institutions offering LIS degree programs all over the country. In fact, in the 2019 Librarian Licensure Examination, a total of 1,024 graduates with LIS degrees from 88 LIS schools took the said licensure examination.

While the librarianship profession in the Philippines is relatively small in number, this does not discount the significance of the role librarians play in nation building through literacy, scholarship, and preservation of historical materials and cultural heritage.

UP SLIS, as the only Center of Excellence in LIS Education in the country, recognizes the work done by those who came before us. Those who fought and continue to fight for the acknowledgement, establishment, and development of the library profession in the Philippines enacted through landmark legislations that unambiguously protect the profession. And so we stand firmly to defend the profession as we respond to Dir. Adriano’s false, problematic, and legally questionable proclamations.

UP SLIS supports the call of the Professional Regulatory Board for Librarians and other professional organizations of librarians for a dialogue with Sorsogon Representative Evelina Escudero to assert the collective stand of the members of the profession to never allow any violation or deviation from the provisions of the law that established the librarianship profession as a specialized area of expertise. 

UP SLIS calls for Dir. Adriano to not focus on the hiring of non-librarians as the solution to the dearth of professional and duly-qualified librarians. Instead, closely work with professional librarians, organizations and educational institutions on how to advance the profession by understanding and promoting the crucial roles and responsibilities of public libraries in propagating information literacy as well as cultural and historical consciousness to all levels of the society. Through this, the library profession can be promoted and uplifted as a noble and relevant profession to be pursued and appreciated by many.

UP SLIS acknowledges the presence of non-librarians occupying a number of posts in the different public libraries in the country, therefore, UP SLIS calls for Dir. Adriano to not only promote the creation of plantilla positions for all public librarians in all LGUs, but also to push for the development of training programs and creation of scholarship grants for non-licensed personnel of public libraries for them to pursue a degree in LIS and eventually take the required licensure examination for librarians. In this way, the NLP can empower non-licensed librarians who have been working in public libraries for years by helping them obtain their respective licenses and by equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills in managing libraries. 


Lastly, UP SLIS reaffirms its commitment to continuously provide and develop programs to produce competent librarians and information professionals, and to help other educational institutions to establish and/or further improve their LIS degree programs in order to satisfy the needs of the library and information industry and to encourage more students to pursue librarianship as a career. 

Published:  2022-03-07 08:37:01