History of the Xavier University Libraries


The events of the library from 1933 to 1967 are lifted from the unpublished material of Father Miguel Bernad SJ entitled Significant Dates in the 50-year History of the Ateneo de Cagayan, Xavier University 1933-1983. Without Father Bernad’s historical eye, we would not be able to trace the early history of the library. To him we are forever grateful.

Significant Library Dates 1934 – 1993

The first mention of the library in Xavier University is in the publication of Father Bernad where the fees of Ateneo de Cagayan in 1934 were enumerated:

Fees: Tuition fee: P4 a month; Library fee: P1 a year; Athletic fee P10 a year; Laboratory fee: P2 a year.

The second mention of the library was during World War II when on May 1, 1942, Father Edward J. Haggerty SJ, Rector of Ateneo de Cagayan, “deposited all that could be saved (library, laboratory equipment, school records) in the old mission center of Sumilao. (The library, consisting of some 15,00 volumes is transported to Sumilao by Lt. Jose Villanueva, AdeC student, and his men.).”

Unfortunately, on October 21, 1944, “the house in Sumilao, where the library had been stored collapses due to heavy rains. The collection is destroyed.”

During the post-war reconstruction, 1946 to 1949, the library is mentioned in connection with the appointment of Father Theodore Daigler SJ, who returned to the Ateneo de Cagayan on January 30, 1947 after eight months in the United States. And when the school year 1948-1949 opened on June 30, 1948, there was improvement seen in the school, including new shipments that included books for the library.

On July 1950, the school library under Father Pablo V. Bartolome SJ, was “put in ship-shape condition with the help of the Rizal Club. (The USIS representative, who visited the library, was full of praise for the arrangements.)

Sometime in August 1957, the library was re-organized under the direction of Father Victor Helly SJ. As Father Bernad narrates:

The stacks are separated from the reading room by a lattice screen. 200 feet of shelves have been added. The card catalogue is completed, the result of last year’s work of the Librarian, Mr.Santa Maria, with the help of the students. (Note: The library at this time occupied the second floor of St. Joseph’s Hall. It had been confined to one room, but through the efforts of Father Fox, the former librarian, the entire second floor above the front façade was assigned to the library.

Three years later, Father Helly reported that within two years some 7,000 volumes, mostly donations, were acquired. He also reported the acquisition of the 167-volume set of the Library of Congress printed catalog.

On a visit to Manila in 1961, Father James McMahon SJ, University Rector, met with an architect and some engineers for the construction of a separate library building. The construction of the library was made possible through U.S. War-Damage Claims funds. Two years later, on February 11, 1963, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the college store was tore down and the construction of the new library building begun.

A year later, on February 24, 1964, the new library was “inaugurated by being used as the venue for the First Mindanao-Sulu School Library Seminar and Workshop.” This seminar-workshop was attended by 187 participants, mostly teachers from the public elementary schools.

On the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, August 15, 1964, the three-storey building was solemnly blessed by Archbishop James T.G. hayes SJ. Part of the ceremony was the installation of a crucifix (a gift from the Archbishop) made of molave wood that had been part of the pre-war building of the pre-war Ateneo de Cagayan building. This crucifix is still found where it was originally placed: at the third floor of the now Main Library building, inside the office which used to be occupied by the Director of Libraries.

Fast forward to 1991. During the Board of Trustees meeting on March 2, 1991, Father Bienvenido F. Nebres, SJ, then University President presented his plan of “raising funds for a library annex or study hall for students as the University Library can no longer accommodate the present population.” This was unanimously approved by the Board and it was left to Father Antonio S. Samson SJ, Father Nebres’ successor, to put the plan into motion and fruition.

Even before Father Samson was formally installed as the University president, he called for a meeting on May 19, 1993, and discussed his plans for the construction of a library annex. Happily, on June 18, 1996, at 8:08 a.m., the cornerstone for the Library Annex building was laid and blessed. A little more than a year later, on July 26, 1997, the Library Annex was blessed and inaugurated in grand fashion.

XU Library in the Computer Age

The Library started its formal automation efforts upon the encouragement of the late Father Francis Clarke SJ, who served as librarian at the St. Vianney Theological Seminary. Father Clarke had been using a commercial library software in his library for some months and he generously shared a demo diskette. After running the demo diskette and several discussions with Father Clarke, plus numerous meetings with XU librarians, it was decided that the Library computerize its circulation services first, being a highly work-intensive service.

On March 13, 1995, the Library started using the DOS version of Circulation Plus, a commercial software from the Follett Software Company in the United States. The computerization of the circulation services proved to be very effective that by June 25, 1995, the Library computerized its processing of library materials and started using barcodes for its books. Also, the manual card catalog was slowly being converted to an online public catalog or OPAC. These were made possible by the acquisition of the Catalog Plus module, still from Follett and still in DOS version. In January 29, 1998, with the availability of the Windows version of the modules, the Library quickly upgraded to the Windows version.

To make its print collections of books and journals more accessible to the University community, the Library acquired another Follett module on April 5, 2002, the WebCollection Plus. This allows XU students, faculty, staff, and others, to search the library collections from any location, 24 hours a day, without physically going to the Library. In addition, books can now be placed on hold or reserve online. In an important step, the Library started to create its own website way ahead of some units and offices in the University. On April 20, 2004, Mrs. Annabelle P. Acedera and Mr. Roman V. Ellovido, started making a design and with the assistance of the Computer Center, particularly, Engr. Gerry Doroja, created its own library website. The library website http://library.xu.edu.ph was launched simply on December 14, 2004.

To provide reliable and up-to-date articles in full-text format, the Library placed a subscription to an online database in June 16, 2003, the Wilson OmniFile Select database. At the same time, being part of a network of American Corners in the Philippines, the Library was granted an online database by the Public Affairs Section of the Embassy of the United States, the EBSCO MasterFile. These two databases were formally launched on November 23, 2003. The launching was attended by then President, Antonio S. Samson SJ, along with the college deans, department chairs, student leaders, and heads of various offices/units.