Aswang sa Aklatan

Hands off our libraries!

Libraries are safe spaces for learning.
Every book is a chance to freely and critically encounter ideas.
Let's keep it that way!

Join the conversation! Use #HandsOffOurLibraries

Source: PNA/Banga Municipal Police Station, Aklan

Whose grubby hands are befouling our libraries? 💩

The Philippine government, through the regional bodies of its National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and the Commission on Higher Education, is asking librarians to pull “subversive” and “mentally unhealthy” books from their collections! Details in these news articles:

Update (2 Nov 2021): CHED has released an official statement on the matter, saying that the issue is a matter of “mutual respect” and that universities ”are given sufficient administrative discretions under existing laws.”

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility also commented on media's coverage of the issue.

What is it with oppressive rulers and books? 😂

When your government is after your books, you know something's up. This isn't the first time books have been embroiled in a crackdown on “dangerous” ideas. Other totalitarians have done it before.

Source: Hey Arnold

Are we taking this sitting down?

Nope. Librarians, teachers, publishers and designers, students and activists—many have expressed alarm at this development. You or your organization may want to add your voice to this important conversation. ✊

Grrr. What can we do? 🤬

It's not too late to be concerned. We owe it to the libraries we love, and the readers who should be able to enjoy them.

We also encourage everyone to read passages from your favorite banned or endangered book. Post them as a 30 second to 1 minute video on social media using the hashtag #BannedBooksReadingChallenge.

Source: RTF ELCAC Cagayan Valley

What about the books? 📚

When the power-crazed (or intellectually threatened)? take our books away, what do we do? Replace them! (The books? Or the power-crazed? Hmm.) Anyway. Introducting Multong Aklat (Phantom Book): Endangered Books Digital Archive. We've asked academics to put together digital copies of books, articles, and other readings on “subversion” and other “dangerous” ideas. Check out their growing list of recommendations!

Got your own recommendations? Let us know.

Note: These materials are made available here for purely non-profit, educational purposes—and because they may be under threat from censorship and banning. If you are a copyright owner, you may submit a takedown request.

Why do we support open access? 🤲

Academic freedom is a useless concept if people do not have access to educational materials. Unfortunately, the limitations of the publishing industry in the Philippines and state neglect of education have led to our current situation in which most Filipinos cannot afford books, academic journals, and other similar texts.

Although this problem needs structural solutions, uploading free-to-download materials constitutes an initial step toward democratizing access to information. While still acknowledging that Internet connectivity is highly unequal across social classes and geographical spaces, we remain optimistic in the potential of creating communities of teachers, students, researchers, activists, and community organizers, based on the sharing of knowledge and visions.

If you support our campaign for more open-access materials, send us an email to learn more about how you can help.

Hands off our libraries!

We reiterate: Libraries are safe spaces for learning. Every book is a chance to freely and critically encounter ideas.
Let's keep it that way!

Core values of the library community such as equal access to information, intellectual freedom, and the objective stewardship and provision of information must be preserved and strengthened, now more than ever.

For intellectual freedom to flourish, opposition to censorship of materials is not enough. Access to materials, without prejudice, to every member of the community must also be assured.

American Library Association


What Is Academics Unite for Democracy and Human Rights?

We are an alliance of Filipino teachers, researchers, school administrators, and other education professionals who stand for democratic rights and freedom in the academe and beyond. It has campaigned against laws and policies, such as the Anti-Terror Law and the crackdown on activists, that constrict the ability of individuals and groups to express dissent and organize themselves based on their political convictions. It conducts discussions and mass actions to advocate for structural reforms in education, teachers’ rights and welfare, and solidarity with the basic masses.

Academics Unite for Democracy and Human Rights. All rights... under attack. Huhuhu. Kapit lang!