City Government of San Fernando, La Union
Best Practice Focus Area/s
Citizens / Customers
This is a GBPR entry
The establishment of barangay reading centers nationwide supports the promotion of Filipinos’ moral, intellectual and cultural development, which is vital in nation-building and national development, and was institutionalized through the following legislation: (1) Section 17 of the Local Government Code of 1991 and (2) Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7743, an act providing the establishment of congressional, city and municipal libraries and barangay reading centers throughout the Philippines. Under this state policy, the City Public Library of San Fernando La Union spearheaded the annual provision of learning materials to the city’s fifty-nine (59) barangays, ensuring the adequacy and accessibility of such resources to benefit their constituents. This program was initiated in 2015 and became one of the best practices of the library, aiming to deliver quality public service through education and information dissemination.
Background and Problem
Before this project came to fruition, children rarely visited libraries because of accessibility challenges. It was difficult for the advocates to promote their projects and programs. The DepEd issued a statement on 4 December 2019 on the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results wherein the Philippines scored lowest in reading comprehension. PISA is a worldwide study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that examines students’ knowledge in reading, mathematics, and science.
With the PISA results also reflecting the learners’ performance in the National Achievement Test (NAT), DepEd recognizes the urgency of addressing issues and gaps in improving the quality of basic education in the Philippines. The City Public Library of San Fernando is in full spirit in helping to address the concern by sustaining the Barangay Reading Centers. By donating and promoting books and teaching children and young adults the importance of having a good habit of reading, the Library hopes to provide them with a more accessible and enriching learning experience.
Solution and Impact
One of the Barangay Reading Center’s goals is to establish increased collaboration between the City Public Library and the barangay officials so that they might work hand-in-hand in strengthening the engagement of the community in the pursuit of quality education through the aid of learning materials present in their respective reading centers. The City Public Library is also keen on helping the government, the Department of Education (DepEd), and the National Library of the Philippines promote healthy reading habits among the city’s residents. This direction is integrated into the development plan of the local government.
From the commencement of implementation in 2015, the City Public Library of San Fernando visited the barangay reading centers in the city and provided an increasing number of reading materials donated by private institutions and partners every year through the Book Drive Program.
To make the initiative possible, first, the library coordinates with its mother organization, the National Library of the Philippines, and with donors and interested organizations to request donations to each barangay. Afterward, the staff plot a strategic plan on how they will allocate the donations, including the volume of learning materials, to be given to each of the fifty-nine (59) barangays. Distribution of the books is undertaken in coordination with the respective barangay officials. However, even when information can be accessed through the Internet, the barangay reading centers can be a place to hone one’s sensibility. Children can enjoy longer access to good-quality books. The program helped the residents realize how important books are.
For realizing such a program, the City Library garnered prestigious awards that recognized the efforts and achievements of its initiatives. City Librarian Mr. Michael C. Nagas and the Library staff were named the winner of the 2020 Search for Gawad Parangal sa Natatanging Tagapaglingkod ng Pampublikong Aklatan. The Establishment of Barangay Reading Centers in the City of San Fernando La Union was the fundamental program highlighted in the recognition, as it facilitated the provision of outstanding services and facilities to its constituents.
In view of the accolades being received by the City Library, it has recognized that sustainability, development and innovation are essential in its continuing pursuit of quality public service delivery. Today, the library is thinking of more effective ways to reach the different sectors of society towards achieving the same goal–educating the community. With enough budget and sponsors, the Barangay Reading Centers can widen the scope of learning materials that are being contained in their corners, providing a wider variety of fiction and non-fiction books, storytelling books, dictionaries, magazines, and eventually research papers, theses, and feasibility studies produced by the students in their respective barangays.