Henry Luce III Library: History

by Victory Gabawa (former Director of Libraries)

A new library has been a dream of many people in the University for more than twenty years and it became a part of the deliberations of the Faculty Library Committee meeting on September 27, 1967, for which there was a recommendation for a Library Building Program Committee. In the late seventies, there was a survey that was conducted by the University Research under Dr. Macario Ruiz, where the location of a new library would be. It was in the later years of 1980s that the University decision was to build a new library and not just an annex or renovation of the Eugenio Lopez Hall.

The University fund campaign for the P28M library building was then launched by the Board of Trustees, in the School Year 1987 under President Agustin A. Pulido.  Engr. Aurora Alerta Lim was appointed by the administration and the Board of Trustees as a full-time fund campaign executive to lead the first   capital campaign for the building.  It was the United Board of Christian Higher Education in Asia (UBCHEA) that linked Central Philippine University with the Henry Luce Foundation that became the major donor. It was also through Engr. Lim’s leadership that the negotiation with Luce Foundation to raise their counterpart from fifty per cent to two-thirds per cent of the needed amount was materialized, because the University was not able to reach its counterpart at the designated period.

According to the Library Development, 1989-1999 of Mrs. Norma P. Jayme, former Director of Libraries, it was in the middle of 1988 when Dr. Paul Lauby, President of UBCHEA during that time, notified CPU that the Luce Foundation had approved the grant to CPU for the Library Building. The final decision of the specific amount granted to CPU was given in June 1989.   The library construction was then started  after its groundbreaking  on March 9, 1990 and finally finished on September 7, 1991 at a cost of  P28 million. Before the library was finished, Mrs. Norma Jayme, former Director of Libraries migrated to the U.S. in 1990. But she saw the fruit of her planning for the new library when she came on a vacation in Summer 1992, while Miss Elizabeth Chambers came on June 19, 1993 to serve as library consultant for one year.

Before the library was finally finished, moving in of the library holdings was worked out by the Library Administrative Committee- Victory D. Gabawa as Chairperson, with Mr. Federico S. Billones and Mrs. Josephine T. Fernandez as members. A schedule for transfer of library materials was planned by the Library Administrative Committee and submitted to President Agustin Pulido. The actual transfer was coordinated with Engr. Aurora A. Lim, Vice President for Administration.  There were about 90 library students at the time, 10 library staff, 4 hired laborers (Non-CPU staff) and one university dump truck driver who assisted on the transfer work.

The transfer of library holdings started in June 1991 with the Graduate Studies library materials (formerly housed in the first floor of the Alumni Building) and  the United Nations Documents (housed in New Valentine Room 107). The early transfer was due to the need for classroom during the SY1991/1992.   Next schedule of transfer was the Circulation books on September 28 to October 8, 1991, then the Filipiniana and American Studies Resource Center books and cabinets,   Reference materials, shelves and other furniture. The last to be transferred were the Reserve books because these were being used by the students in preparation for the final examination.   There were 10 library staff with one driver and four hired non-CPU laborers, to bundle and transfer the 145,000 volumes and thousands of furnitures from the Eugenio Lopez Hall library to the Henry Luce III Library.  It was a hard work for library staff and work students with only   ordinary pulleys and inclined planes to use in transporting books and shelves from one building to another and from the first floor to the third floor of the Henry Luce III library, but it was immaterial compared to the excitement for all those who assisted. 

The new furniture worth P1.3 million were designated for the First and Second Floors only.   The Third Floor furniture are those from the old library building.  Shelves, chairs, and carrels ordered from Milbercraft Industries, Cebu City, started coming on September 6, 1991, and while the tables were done by the Iloilo furniture makers came later.

The library service to library users started in November 1991, with the Reserve Section followed by the Circulation section, even before all books are on shelves.  All sections of the Henry Luce III Library were in full operation by January 1992.

The Library was formally inaugurated on July 7, 1992.  This library was realized through shared resources – the  donations of the Henry Luce Foundation,  who gave two-thirds of the 28 Million Building fund, the Board of International Ministries- American Baptist Churches,  the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (UBCHEA), the family of Dr. & Mrs. Leopoldo T. Ruiz, Mr. Lucio Tan, Engr. and Mrs. Alfonso Uy, various chapters of the CPU Alumni Association, here and abroad, Mr. Uy Ang Jun Ting, Justice Calixto O Zaldivar, Mr. Johnny Proximo, Work Student Alumni Association, CPU faculty and  staff , students, and friends of the university, here in the country and abroad.  Names of the major donors are etched on the bronze plate on the Library wall near the entrance of the Library Office.

Its inauguration was a big day, attended by Mr. Henry Luce III, Chairman of the Henry Luce Foundation, to whom the library was named, Dr. David W. Vikner, then, president, United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (UBCHEA), the CPU Board of Trustees, and members of the CPU Corporation, donors and representatives of the donors, CPU faculty and staff, alumni, students, heads and librarians of various colleges and universities in the country, and friends of the university.

The Library has been a landmark and a site included in the educational tour of thousand of students and visitors from various points inside and outside of the country since its inauguration.

After its inauguration, tour of the library becomes a part of the duty of library personnel for students and visitors of the university.

With a seating capacity of 1000, the library houses a collection of more than 200,000 volumes, and serves thousands of its students daily through its various service areas- Reference and Graduate Studies section, Circulation, Theology Library, Serials, and Special Collection areas.  The Cyber or Internet Section supplements the library resources with Web-based information.    The Library Interconnection with Year 2000, through UBCHEA was established between Central Philippine University, Silliman University in Dumaguete City and Trinity College of Quezon City. The Accord facilitates the exchange of library database information through the Web. 

The Henry Luce III Library has been the Region VI best academic library outside Manila. It  is one of the six United Nations  depository libraries in the country; a depository of Food and Agriculture Organization publications; one of the 14 American Studies Resource Centers in the Philippines- the first  in the Visayas to be established;  one of the Information Centers of the National Statistics Office and one of the Population Information Centers of  Region VI.  Henry Luce III Library is the only library in the Visayas with a separate Asian collection of books and artifacts.  The collection is named after Dr. and Mrs. Frederick Meyer, the parents of the donor, Prof. Milton W. Meyer, D.Lit.

It is also enriched and updated with the engineering books acquired through the DOST-ESEP fund for the College of Engineering, being the Center for Development, since Year 2000.

The library has served thousands of researchers from all over Panay and other parts of the country even before it started its automation. 

Library Staff during the transfer of Library holdings from Eugenio Lopez Hall and Theology Library in the Johnson Hall to the Henry Luce III Library:


Miss Victory D. Gabawa, Chair, Library Administrative Committee
Mr. Federico S. Billones, Member LAC
Mrs. Josephine T. Fernandez, Member, LAC
Mrs. Lorna P. Crucero, Circulation Librarian
Mrs. Ramona C. Elevado, Reserve Section
Miss Fe F. Casandra, Reference Librarian
Miss Elsa T. Jinon, High School Librarian
Mrs. Adelta C. Espolong, Elementary Librarian
Mrs. Leonor B. Fernandez, Cataloger
Mrs. Linen T. Jalea, Cataloger
Mr. Victorino J. Bologino, Workroom Supervisor
Mr. Jonathan Tumalay, Serial Assistant

Monday – *Saturday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Lopez Jaena St., Jaro, Iloilo City 5000


(033) 329-19-71 local 1011

*The Circulation section is the only area accessible, designated solely for studying.