CEBU City may soon have a bigger and more “sophisticated” public library as Mayor Michael Rama envisions a “Singapore-like library” that will be possibly built at the South Road Properties (SRP).

City Librarian Rosario Chua welcomed the plan, especially since the current Rizal Memorial Library and Museum on Osmeña Blvd. has limited reading capacity.

In a recorded video message presented during the 88th National Book Week celebration on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022, Rama said the “huge and definitely Singapore-like” library will not just be filled with books but will also be technologically equipped.

“I am sharing this vision with all. Let us equip our library, the determination of how highly urbanized the city is on how sophisticated our library is,” he said.

Rama, who was in Singapore at that time with his family for a vacation, said the site of the new library is still to be considered but it might be built at the SRP.

According to Chua, the existing public library can only accommodate 150 persons and is only open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during weekdays.

With the current population of Cebu City which is already more than one million, Chua said there is really a need to have a bigger public library.

Before the coronavirus disease pandemic, the public library had up to 11,000 visitors every month on average, but the number is down to 3,000 because of restrictions, she said.

Chua said they will request the City Government to allow the public library to operate during weekends and be open until 8 p.m. to accommodate more people.

The librarian added that there are still people who want to get information through books, especially students who are required to use books for their research.

However, it cannot be denied that because of technological advancement and the availability of the internet, the number of people who visit libraries has declined, she said.

Meanwhile, Chua believes the information obtained from books is more credible and reliable compared to the ones available on the internet.

“Ang atoang books gyud kay (are) authoritative, so we can rely (on) the information written ana nga mga (on the) books. Usahay kung daghan na kaayo nga (Sometimes there is too much) information nga naa sa (on the) internet, ang bata mag lisod og ila kung asa ang tinuod or dili (children will have a hard time deciding which is true or not),” she said.

The public library, though, has not closed its doors to technology since it still offers free WiFi connection and internet browsing.

Aside from general education books, the public library also holds collections of “unique” books and articles about Cebu that are not available on the internet, Chua said. (IRT)