Libraries devoted to permaculture

LIBRARIES are usually not found in hotels. But there is one place that has given libraries—the building or space in which books and related materials are kept for use but not for sale—a special focus.

At West Gorordo Hotel there are several small libraries. This is because the members of the family who own this hotel are passionate about reading and their causes.

The main library is a room approximately 5 x 5 meters, housing the Permaculture Library. According to Edna Lee, whose project this is, permaculture “is based on the ethics of care for the earth, each other and the future. It was founded by Bill Mollison in Australia in the 1970s. Now it is a global movement that is present in all the major cities of the world.”

Permaculture Library
PERMA FOCUS. Daryl Mishka Watin (left, student coordinator of psychology class) and Edna Lee browse through a book at the Permaculture Library. Above them is the permaculture flower, with each petal symbolizing the different dimensions of permaculture. Take note of the sturdy bookshelves, which are held together by wine bottles—a perfect ode to recycling. (Amper Campana/Sun.Star Cebu)

On one wall is a flower, which Edna says is the Permaculture Flower introduced by David Holmgren. The petals of the flower show the different dimensions of permaculture. These are: tools and technology, building, education and culture, economics and finance, land and nature stewardship, health and spiritual well-being, and land tenure and governance.

The books in this library, about a thousand of them, are categorized by the different dimensions.

To showcase sustainability, which is what permaculture aims at, the book shelves are propped up by empty wine bottles, and the beautiful chandeliers are from recycled materials.

The Farfalla Chandelier “is a flurry of ethereal butterfly-cut fabrics,” recycled from discarded nurses’ uniforms. The “Urchin Bottle Lights” showcase “repetitive pointy forms creating a shapely silhouette of a sea urchin” and are made from discarded plastic bottles from a pizza cafe. The chandeliers are the handiwork of Francis Sollano, who has a strong dedication for sustainable living. (He is co-lead and creative director of Youth for Livable Cebu.)

“The library,” adds Edna, “is maintained by the psychology volunteers on bikes, whose theme is pedaling towards sustainability and is also the convergence place for the Permaculture Society of the Philippines. The books are for room use only and accessible through membership—student membership is P50 and professional membership is P200 per year. Forms can be had at the front desk of West Gorordo or can be filled out in the website:

Another library is the Journeys Library located at the Journeys Cafe and available to the cafe clients. The collection zeroes in on life’s varied journeys: travel, culinary, spiritual, parenting and juvenile sections. The books are available to Journeys Cafe clients. The cafe tables are also provided with magazine pockets where various magazines like National Geographic are inserted for the patrons to browse, should they wish.

Kids have not been forgotten and there’s a library for them at the Kids Nook, with early childhood books, which can be accessed by Journeys and West Gorordo clients.

A fourth library is the Anthroposopy Library, housed at Journeys Cafe, and is part of the Rudolf Steiner Centre led by Gian Carlo Luna, a Cebuano anthroposopist. It has books by Rudolf Steiner and other books pertaining to the Waldorf educational model.

Books can be accessible to members of the Rudolf Steiner Centre.
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