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The National Library of the Philippines: A sanctuary for the soul

(Photos source: National Library of the Philippines)

Open a book and you open your mind. In today’s digital age, perhaps, the good old library is “somehow” no longer interesting to the younger generation. But then, think again.

Located along T.M. Kalaw in Ermita, Manila, the National Library of the Philippines provides various services to the public, including library and information services, access to digital resources, and cultural programs. 

Through generations, the National Library has played and continues to play a crucial role in supporting education, research, and the dissemination of knowledge throughout the country.

Guardian of valuable literary resources

The National Library of the Philippines serves as the repository of the country's printed and recorded cultural heritage and other intellectual, literary, and information resources.

With the continuing changes in technology, the national library has also embraced changes to adapt to the changing times.


Established on August 12, 1887, the National Library of the Philippines was established as the Museo-Biblioteca de Filipinas through a royal decree. 

The library was revived with the donation made by the American Circulating Library Association of its Circulating Library to the government, formalized through Public Act No. 96 passed on March 5, 1901. Public Law Act No. 1935 provided for “the consolidation of all libraries belonging to any branch of the Philippine government for the creation of the Philippine Library” and for the maintenance of the same, among other purposes. To carry out the provisions of this law, a Library Board was constituted, consisting of the Secretary of Public Instruction, the Secretary of Interior, the Secretary of Finance and Justice, and the other members to be appointed annually by the Governor General.

In 1916, the Philippine Library, Division of Archives, Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks of the Executive Bureau, and the Law Library of the Philippine Assembly were merged into one entity, called the Philippine Library and Museum. Twelve years later, the Philippine Legislature separated the museum from the library. Public Law No. 3477 (1928) established the National Museum under the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources and changed the name of the Philippine Library and Museum to the National Library.

The President of the Philippines changed the name of the National Library to the Bureau of Public Libraries in accordance with Executive Order No. 94, Series 1947. This order was followed by Republic Act No. 411, otherwise known as the Municipal Libraries Law, authored by the then Senator Geronima T. Pecson. Republic Act No. 387,3 passed in 1964, brought back to the Bureau of Public Libraries its old name, The National Library. Currently, the library is known as the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) pursuant to Republic Act No. 10087, enacted on May 13, 2010. The NLP is located at T.M. Kalaw Street, Manila.

Embracing change, adapting technology

From the traditional library catalog, the National Library of the Philippines embraces the digital age, providing access to digital resources.

The Philippines eLib ( is a collaborative project of the NLP, University of the Philippines (UP), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

The project aims to meet the information needs of all sectors of society in a convenient, affordable, and efficient way. 

Available resources include: 

·       Union catalog of the five partners

·       Digitized Filipiniana materials, including theses and dissertations

·       Special collection and research of the five partners

·       Online resources/subscription to electronic databases

The COVID-19 pandemic has also paved the way for the National Library of the Philippines to continue to provide educational and entertaining learning through NLP’s website’s Children and Young Adults Corner .

Explore other information and updates through NLP’s social media pages (Facebook, X, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok).

65th Public Library Day

By virtue of Proclamation No. 563, s. 1959, every 9th of March is declared “Public Library Day.”  

The National Library of the Philippines, together with all public libraries and barangay reading centers nationwide, will celebrate the 65th Public Library Day with the theme: "

About the Author

Jimmyley Guzman

Information Officer III


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