ON AUGUST 12, 1887, the National Library of the Philippines, formerly known as the Museo-Biblioteca de Filipinas (Museum-Library of the Philippines), was established by a royal order of the Spanish government.
It opened officially on October 24, 1891 at the Casa de la Moneda in Intramuros, then home of the Philippine Mint, with around 100 volumes and Julian Romero and Benito Perdiguero as director and archivist-librarian, respectively.
Today, the National Library’s most-prized possessions include Dr. Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo and Mi Ultimo Adiós. Three of his unfi nished novels and the Philippine Declaration of Independence are kept in a special double-combination vault at the Rare Documents Section of the Filipiniana Division’s reading room.
The library is accessible since 1998 to the public through online public access catalog (named after Basilio, one of the characters in Rizal’s novels), as well as its web site, the library’s internet room in 2001, and the birth in 2004 of eLibrary, the Philippines’ first digital library.