The year 1902 ushered in a group of experienced teachers headed by Mary E.Polley, a Thomasite and noted pioneer in Philippine education who came to Iloilo to establish a teacher-training institution, the Iloilo Normal School. This school was established to meet the urgent need for Filipino teachers. To meet the heavy demands for teachers and clerks in the different government agencies, annual batches of the best students were appointed as government pensionados and sent to pursue their studies in the United States. With the establishment of institutions, current standards show that libraries are part. It is therefore assumed that these Thomasites were the ones who provided the institution with reading materials needed in this teacher-training institution.
In 1924, upon the completion of the concrete main building, now the Quezon Hall and the Gabaldon-type elementary school building, the Iloilo Normal School ceased to be a mere adjunct of the Iloilo High School. At this time, it moved to its present site and offered the Secondary Normal School curriculum and it also progressed into a two-year collegiate-training institution. The library was also situated on the first floor of the west wing in this building. No library fees were collected from students but matriculation fee was charged them. Volumes of collections stocked at the library mostly came from donations coming especially from the libraries in the US. At this time the closed shelf system was observed in the circulation of library materials because of limited collections.
The pre-World War II years saw a succession of INS principals who not only looked into curricular offerings but services as well, part of which was the library. They were Joseph Dewey (1924-1025), Genevieve Clauson (1925-1927), Apolonio Ramos (1927-1932), Mamie Lautseiheiser (1932-1935), and Martin Aguilar (1935-1937). Jose C. Balagot was named INS superintendent in 1937 and held the position until 1958.
The school suspended operation during World War II having suffered devastation during the war; however, INS was rebuilt with the help of the United States of America through the Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1946. During this devastation, the library also suffered losses and destruction of its collections.
Jose B. Ledesma took over as dean of INS in 1959, becoming its first president when the school was converted into West Visayas State College on May 4, 1965 by Republic Act No. 4189. The WVSC offered courses leading to the degrees Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.E.), Bachelor of Arts (A.B.), and Master of Arts in Education (M.A.). With the institution’s new status, the administration of WVSC and the exercise of its corporate powers were vested on the Board of Trustees and in the President of the College. Various academic units established during this term were Graduate School (1961), Arts and Sciences (1965), Secondary Laboratory School (1969), Medicine (1975), Agriculture (1977), and Nursing (1977). The establishment of these academic units and curricula offerings also has some implications in the development of the collections and resources of the present library.
Lilia V. Juele became WVSC president upon Ledesma’s retirement in 1978. Juele became president of the College until 1978. It was during her term when P.D. 2019 converted the WVSC into West Visayas State University on January 27, 1986 integrating the Iloilo National College of Agriculture in Lambunao, Iloilo. The Mass Communications Program (1980) at the WVSU saw birth during this time. It was also during Juele’s term when one part of the infrastructural accomplishment was the Administration Building. From the Quezon Hall, the University Library has transferred to this new building and remained there until May 2006. Juele’s term is still considered a golden era when the University was pushing hard towards national recognition and acclaim in the academe and culture.
The third WVSU president, Dr. Venancio G. Garagan took over in 1987 to 1993. Establishment of the Mass Communications Center and the PESCAR Center were some of the highlights of this term, which have some library implications in terms of collection acquisitions.
The well-traveled, research-oriented Dr. Bernabe B. Cocjin was formally installed as WVSU president after Dr. Garagan on December 8, 1993. The first three years of his term witnessed two of its academic units obtaining accredited status from AACUP – Education and Nursing. Degree-granting institutes, Mass Communications and the PESCAR were created during this term as approved by the Board of Regents on November 27, 1993. New degree programs were likewise opened: Cooperative Management (1997); BS in Information Technology, and BS in Information Management (1998), BS in Hotel and Restaurant Management (2003), and by school year 2002-2003, the Institute of Information and Communications Technology was established.
The unfolding of the years of the existence of the INS now WVSU, also mirrored the unfoldment of the existence of its library and the librarians. Natividad Fernandez, the librarian in the 1960’s, Anita Principe (1970-1975), Loreta J. Hechanova (1973), Alma S. Ponsaran (1975-1986), Delia Divinagracia (1986-June1990), Nelse Grace Miraflor (July 1990-June 1992), Delia Divinagracia (1992-1993), Cecilia Noderama (3 months in 1993), Elisa Madalogdog (1993-Oct. 1998), Cynthia P. Deza (November 1998 to May 2004), Florence Fe C. Mendoza (June 2004-March 31, 2005), Nelse Grace L. Miraflor (April 2005-October 2005), and Nora P. Rose (November 2005 to date).
Before, the University Library used the “closed shelf” system in its book circulation; however, in response to current trends in library service where fast access could be rendered to researchers, the “open shelf” system was adopted except in the Reserve Section of the Library. Latest increase in library fee also brought about remarkable changes in the library environment. Computer machines and CD-ROM are being updated regularly to meet standards and the demands of the curriculum. Today, the WVSU Library is situated in its new location at the ground floor of the IICT Building. It is fully air conditioned in all its sections. Such amenity motivates students to study or research in this unit because of the conducive atmosphere it renders library customers which condition has also drastically increased the influx of library customers. The AudioVisual Center is in full operation with 26 workstations for Internet and multi-media presentations. The Library is fully automated using the Destiny software, an integrated library automation system that offers Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) as one of its features.
In the present administration under Dr. Luis M. Sorolla, Jr., university president (2014 to date), the University Library performs its mission and objectives responsive to the thrusts of the University: quality education, research, extension, and production. The University Library, working towards the accomplishment of the mission and objectives of the institution and towards the upliftment of the educational programs being offered, has partaken in making WVSU as one of the Centers of Excellence in the country today.
Today, the WVSU library, after 6 years of squatting at the ground floor of the IICT bldg, it has finally found its permanent location: the newly renovated Lopez-Jaena Hall.