The conceptualization of having a public library in this city (then a municipality called Rajah Buayan known as “Dadiangas”) started in 1960 during the time when Notre Dame of Dadiangas University (then a college) was granted a donated portion of land for school building. The idea of having a library in the premises suggested by an unknown personality was to be shared by public sector. It was Mrs. Priscilla E. Dinopol, the principal of the training department, explained that there should be a separate public library since Notre Dame of Dadiangas College was operated by the Marist Brothers and a private entity.
There was a pressure from the different sector to have a public library. A fund raising through a stage play “General Santos” held at the Parish Center provided for initial amount to start a small library.
The municipal library of General Santos was created through a Council Resolution no. 95 series-1960, approved by then late Mayor Jorge P. Royeca. The newly created Municipal Library was temporarily housed inside the Municipal Hall with Ester Gonzales as its officer-in-charge.
In October, 1966, Mrs. Lolita H. Dionio took over as librarian and was sent to the National Library in Manila for a one-month training on the different phases of library work and she retired in 2006.
It was in 1970 when the students from Mindanao State University led by Mr. Agustin Vencer, late Conrado Butil, Atty. Nilo Flaviano, Rodrigo Blancaflor, Vicente Dumaniel, Jonathan Delicana, Emmanuel Sua, Jessie Cabalfin, Ely Cabangal, Niere Lucero, Jonathan Telebanco, Cesar Lumpan, Evangelino Jugarap, Corenlio Quetulio Jr. and other student leaders from the different schools in the city rallied to the city officials, especially to the late City Mayor Antonio C. Acharon for the construction of a separate library building.
Due to the persistent clamor of the students, late Mayor Antonio C. Acharon responded by requesting the city council to appropriate an amount for the construction of the library building. The building was constructed right in the heart of the city where it is accessible to the public.
Through late Mayor Antonio C. Acharon’s initiative, he made arrangement with the National Library to make our city its extension. With such arrangement, the National Library provided the General Santos City Public Library with reference books, mostly Filipiniana and other materials and for the General Santos City Public Library to provide its own allocation for book and other library materials, to be supportive of the projects, seminars and programs initiated by the National Library in serving research needs of the community. The General Santos City Public Library was also obligated to submit monthly and annual report (both Statistical and Narrative) on library use to the National Library as supporting documents for the allocation of books.
On September 5, 1973, late acting Mayor Erlindo RA Grafilo invited Congressman James L. Chiongbian to be the guest speaker in the inauguration of the library building.
In 1992, Ordinance No. 08, series of 1992 was passed by the City Council authored by then City Councilor Franklin Gacal, Jr. to transfer the City Library from the City Mayor’s office to the Office of the City Vice Mayor Pursuant to RA 7160 otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991.
The City Vice Mayors of General Santos City from the time of Vice Mayor Oscar “Boy” Reyes (1992-1995), Minda C. Falgui (1995-1998), Pedro B. Acharon, Jr. (1998-2001) and Florentina L. Congson (2001-2010) made sure that the city library is functional for public use.
In 1998, through the Country Development Funds of Senator Ernesto Herrera & Congresswoman Lualhati R. Antonino in partial amounts of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (P250,000.00) and One Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos(P150,000.00) respectively, a skeletal structure of a new library building was constructed during the term of Mayor Adelbert W. Antonino.
Mrs. Rosela Datoy-Reyes, who took over in an acting capacity in 2006 and appointed Librarian III in March 16, 2007 continued the improvement both in the library facilities and improvement of the building thru the continued support of the city officials and member of city councils namely: Hon. Kagawad Jose Orlando R. Acharon, Hon. Kag. Richard L. Atendido, Hon. Kag. Menardo Avila, Jr. Hon. Kag. Jane Calunsag, Hon. Kag. Lourdes F. Casabuena, Hon. Kag, Vivencio E. Dinopol, Hon. Kag. Jose m\Mariano Constantino G. Gonzalez, Hon. Kag. Dominador Lagare III, Hon. Kag. Eduardo D. Leyson III, Hon. Kag. Ramon R. Milleza, Hon. Kag, Nepthale Natividad, Hon. Kag. Orlando A. Oco, Hon. Kag. Margareth Rose N. Santos and Hon. Kag, Dante S. Vicente.
The General Santos City Public Library won prestigious awards 3rd Place in “Best Public Library in Mindanao in 2009″, overall “7th Placer in Best Public Library in the National Level 2009″, and the 2nd Runner-up for the “Linis Opisina 2011”.
During the term of Mayor Pedro B. Acharon, Jr. through the recommendation and approval of current City Council under Vice-Mayor Florentina L. Congson, the new library building started in March, 2007 and completed in August, 2007 with a budgeted amount of 2.5million. The new building became functional August 18, 2007.
In 2011, a new Vice Mayor was installed in the person of Hon. Vice Mayor Shirlyn L. Bañas-Nograles. Under her administration, the library is given a major renovation. The main library was renovated with the combined funding from the following:
LGU Project – P1,449,132.79 – and was completed – March 31, 2012
Source of Fund: RA 9970 FY 2010 – Sen. Manuel “Manny” Bamba Villar, Jr. – whom Hon. Vice Mayor Shirlyn L. Bañas-Nograles personally approached for funding of the library.
In December 2011, through Senator “Manny” Bamba Villar major renovation of the main library building started. Through the DPWH Repair/Rehab of Main Library Building with the amount of P1,970,000.00 which was completed on March 4, 2012.
Mrs. Rosela Datoy-Reyes retired in March, 2012.
At present, the General Santos City Public Library had a total renovation after showing its signs of wear and tear over the years through the leadership of City Vice Mayor Hon. Shirlyn L. Bañas-Nograles. Her vision of a modern city public library that competes nationally has pushed to pursue projects to transform the city library and creative strategies to tackle large challenges especially on modern technologies.
Last year, the City Library catered 33,407 customers in different sections, where the Internet Section has the highest percentage of usage, followed by the Filipiniana Section, the Magazines and General Section respectively. We have strong collections of our Filipiniana Section from National Library, Fiction Books and Vertical Files (Newspaper clippings). They also conducted story telling sessions to CSWDO Day Care Center Students and Private Primary School Students for 2 sessions. We also have a 100% digitized newspapers articles of our local, national and world icons, to wit: Congressman Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire, Ms. Shamcey Supsup – Miss Universe 3rd Runner-up, Philip Nadela, Melai Canteveros, Gerald Anderson, XB Gensan, and True Colors.
The City Library is also conceptualizing the installation of the Integrated Library Management System using the KOHA System which was introduced by the National Library and the Information and Technology Division that is being used by most of the Public Libraries in the Philippines. KOHA is useful as a catalog resource. It is a comprehensive tool, including modules for circulation, cataloging, acquisitions, serials, reserves, patron management, branch relationships, and more, which makes it a more desirable system than software that offers merely cataloging capabilities. The system features will lead to a more effective and efficient delivery of services.