A slightly different version of this post first appeared on my old blog last September 22, 2010.
Last week I finally donated a trunk full of books to the University of the Philippines College of Arts and Letters Library (UP CAL Library). I felt really depressed about it; it was like cutting off a limb. I love books so much they all feel like an extension of me… even the ones I never finished reading!
At least the librarian and the library assistants were very happy to receive the books, so it made the trip down to Diliman worth it. One of them even crooned, “oh, mga bago pa!” I guess the staff is used to people dumping old and hardly usable things on them.
The donation was almost 300 titles in all, culled from my collection, Mom’s and Ricky’s (I got permission from Robbie first). I also gave the library the family’s book stand, which always held a big-ass dictionary since I was a child. While it’s an interesting piece of furniture, it’s hardly suitable for a regular home. It deserves to be in an institution, in a place of dusty honor.
Aside from the books and the book stand were Professor Luisa Mallari’s papers (as seen in big box in the corner of the photo.) I found the draft of her PhD. thesis that she lent me as a guide for my undergraduate thesis. Along with her copy of Raymond Williams, plus the readings I got from Dante, it’s a sizable collection. I hope they go through all of it carefully, because there is some original research there. I wish I had the time to read and scan them—especially her correspondence with authors like Ruth Mabanglo—but I simply can’t spend my time on it. Besides, I’m not aiming for a MA or PhD in Philippine Studies!
I don’t know the final destination of all the books, since the librarian did tell me that titles aren’t suitable for the UP CAL Library will be sent elsewhere, and I’m okay with that. I even said if they needed to be sent to other UP units, it’s okay, because my time as a OSR (Office of the Student Regent) volunteer taught me that other UP units can be really woebegone.
If the CAL Library plans on keep everything for themselves, though, expect an eclectic addition of Asian and Latin American novels (mine), books on world theater (Mom’s), and spy thrillers and World War II memoirs (Ricky’s).
I don’t know if my request will be followed, but I put a little note saying that I just want my student number to appear in their “donated by” book plates. The kids who will borrow out these books won’t care who I am, anyway. There’s much comfort in anonymity. Maybe I should have told them to put in my favorite quotation from the Ecclesiastes instead: “Of making books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.”