Albeit the presence of e-books in this digital age, some people still prefer to read the classic paper books. Cebuanos who find more satisfaction in carrying a real book and flipping through its pages than clicking through the digital pages of e-books, are in for a treat. The University of San Carlos (USC) – Talamban Campus unveiled what could be the biggest library in the Philippines: the Josef Baumgartner Learning Resource Center.
The construction started in 2011, and the target date was April 2012. The 16,000-square meter library was fully functional by the start of school year 2012-2013. It was inaugurated on March 8, 2012, date commemorates the 99th birthday of Fr. Josef Baumgartner, SVD, on March 13, and his first death anniversary on March 20. Fr. Baumgartner was a scholar and editor, who spearheaded the establishment of the Filipiniana Section and Cebuano Studies Center at the USC Main.
This magnificent resource center is a product of the strong partnership of USC administrators, librarians, architects, and contractors in terms of the financial, artistic and structural aspects. This project has fulfilled the more than 20-year dream of the university to be able to create a state-of-the-art learning facility for its students and all Cebuanos who value reading.
USC President Fr. Dionisio Miranda, SVD, led the USC community in the inaugural ceremony of the new library, hoping that everyone will find it a congenial place. It will be open to USC students, as well as the public for a small fee.
The blessing was officiated by Bishop Julito Cortes, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu. He was joined by Provincial Superior of the Philippine SVD Southern Province Fr. Heinz Kulueke, SVD, Chair of the USC Board of Trustees Dr. Ernesto Pernia, and the past and present members of the USC Board of Trustees. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and Aklat, Gabay, Aruga Tungo sa Pag-Angat at Pag-Asa Foundation (AGAPP) head and presidential sister Aurora Corazon “Pinky” Aquino Abellada were also in attendance. Former administrators and staff of the USC Library System, librarians from various schools and universities, book industry and trade people, members of the local consular corps, the architects and engineers of the structure, and the Carolinian community also joined the blessing. Fr. Louie Punzalan, SVD, was the Master of Ceremonies of the huge event.
The blessing and inauguration closed with a dynamic reading of the biography of Fr. Baumgartner. The biography was written by Fr. Theodore Murnane, SVD, and energetically read by Fr. Punzalan. Everyone also got to see Fr. Baumgartner’s original black travelling leather bag that he used on his first mission assignment to China in 1940.
The Josef Baumgartner Learning Resource Center is a four-storey facility that has a basement and split-level floors. It was constructed by FARLYD Collaborative Architects, consisting of Antonio Andres Flores, Jensen Racho, Richeto Alcordo, Bela Lanyi, Raymundo Dinglasa, and Kimberly Yung-Gultia. The structure that costs Php300 million is not only friendly to the environment, but it is also persons-with-disabilities-friendly. The resource center epitomizes the important principles of library building and green architecture designs.
Dubbed as the university’s one-stop information hub, the WI-FI equipped facility will house the print, non-print and electronic collections of the colleges of Architecture and Fine Arts, Engineering, Health Sciences, Arts, and Sciences. It is also home of the Filipiniana and General Reference libraries, Cebuano Studies Center, and the World Bank’s Knowledge Development Center (KDC). The office of the Director of Libraries and the units Acquisitions and Cataloging will also be located in this building. The resource center has a training facility for Library Science students, a Knowledge Navigation Center, and an international section, among others.
The Josef Baumgartner Learning Resource Center is indeed a magnum opus of the university. In terms of size and form, it beats other libraries in the country. Cebuanos are privileged that this kind of facility is just within their reach to assist them in their academic needs and support their passion in reading. The people behind this facility hopes that it will not just be a structure that looks good in the eyes, but something that will nurture one’s minds and hearts.
Every Cebuano is invited to the newest modern reading facility at the University of San Carlos-Talamban Campus. You will realize that walking around the Josef Baumgartner Learning Resource Center and browsing through its wide-ranging collection of books is a lot of fun. Dig into some interesting books while appreciating a panoramic view of metropolitan Cebu.
For more information on this resource center, please call the Library System of the University of San Carlos at (032) 253-1000, local 133. You may fax them at (032) 254-0432 or e-mail them at [email protected]. You may also visit www.library.usc.edu.ph. Its office is located at USC Main, P. del Rosario Street, Cebu City.
A) University of San Carlos – Main, P. del Rosario Street, Cebu City
B) University of San Carlos – Talamban, Gov. M. Cuenco Avenue, Nasipit, Talamban, Cebu City