Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged local government units (LGUs) to create more study spaces such as public libraries and reading centers for students and reviewers for licensure examinations in need of a place to study even after-school hours.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said these study spaces will provide students and young professionals alternative places in lieu of restaurants and coffee shops.
“Due to lack of 24/7 libraries or study spaces, young people stay in fast-food chains, coffee shops, and other similar places, to study during exam weeks even on wee hours. While this is a continuing practice, not all establishments are student-friendly,” she said.
“We hope that the government, particularly the LGUs, could invest for more public spaces and libraries in their localities to allow young people to study without need to worry about spending for food or drinks or being asked to leave,” she added.
De Lima made the statement after literature professor Ian Rosales Casocot took issue against a fast-food chain’s advisory banning students from staying in its premises, prompting calls by the students themselves for more public libraries and spaces for them. Casocot questioned a fast-food chain’s policy that discourages students from studying inside its restaurant. After his post went viral, some students expressed dismay over the ban as they urged the government to provide adequate study areas for them.
“Young people and professionals are looking for spaces where they can study and work. Unfortunately, our public libraries and reading centers do not attract students because they are mostly not properly kept and maintained,” De Lima noted.
“We need to revisit how we are investing in our public libraries. Despite existence of laws regulating public libraries and promoting the practice of librarianship, we continue to lag behind in meeting up the demands and expectations of our young people,” she added.
According to her, the national government and LGUs should encourage partnerships with the private sector and non-governmental organizations in modernizing and innovating our public libraries and reading centers.
De Lima said the government should give due priority to improving our public libraries, which includes improving their infrastructure and facilities, increasing discussion rooms and co-working spaces, and the hiring of licensed librarians and support staff.
“Our public libraries and reading centers should strive in creating a conducive environment that is being attractively offered by most coffee shops. We need to be responsive to the different learning styles of our young people now,” she pointed out.
Known as a prisoner of conscience, De Lima has consistently maintained that no amount of lies and vilifications by political manipulators and even paid trolls could prevent her from fulfilling her mandate as a Senator and speaking up on significant issues.