A Brief History of PAARL

(based on the article “PAARL’s 40th Anniversary 1973-2013” by Fe Angela M. Verzosa)

The Philippine Association of Academic and Research Librarians, better known by its acronym, PAARL, is presently an association of academic and research librarians in the Philippines that upholds the profession of academic and research librarianship in the country. Its principal mission is to articulate the concerns of academic and research librarians and their institutions, and to influence information policy development affecting the future of academic and research libraries. Since 1973, it has provided leadership in the development and growth of library and information services in the country.

PAARL membership is open to all licensed librarians who hold bachelor’s or master’s degree in library/information science from a university, college, or technical school of recognized standing, and other information professionals currently employed in academic and research libraries. Institutional members are firms, agencies, institutions or organizations maintaining academic or research libraries and support the objectives and programs of the Association. It is currently governed by an Executive Board consisting of nine directors, who are directly elected by the general members every year. Guided by a Council of Elders, composed of five past presidents, the Board defines the policies and regulates the activities of the Association.

Now on its 41st year, PAARL was founded through a resolution approved by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) during its conference held on 18-19 September 1972. The resolution called for “an association of academic libraries to be organized as soon as possible, and that a committee of five formed to formulate a constitution and by-laws of the association.”

The Committee of five, formed immediately after this conference, was led by UP University Librarian Marina G. Dayrit (as chairperson), and included Fr. Robert J. Suchan (Library Director of Ateneo de Manila University), Fr. Paul de Vera (of San Beda College), Sr. Patricia Alcarez (of St. Scholastica’s College), and Sr. Arcilla Cabula (of St. Joseph’s College). The five drafted the association’s Constitution and By-Laws, and submitted them initially for approval during its first general membership meeting held at the UP College of Law on 18 November 1972, and then for ratification by an initial membership of sixty (60) designated representatives of academic and research libraries on 20 January 1973.

The first nine members of the Board of Directors elected through secret voting by the initial 60 member librarians on May 7, 1973 were: Marina G. Dayrit (UP), Fr. Paul de Vera, OSB (SBC), Narcissa Muñasque (DLSU), Fr. Robert Suchan, SJ (ADMU), Sister Patricia Alcarez, OSB (SSC), Ursula G. Picache (UPILS), Angelina R. Tamesis (AIM), Rosa M. Vallejo (UPILS), and Filomena Mercado-Tann (UP).

In their first organizational meeting on 5 August 1973, the Board elected their officers:

President – Marina G. Dayrit
Vice-President – Fr. Robert Suchan, SJ
Treasurer – Rosa M. Vallejo
Executive Secretary – Fr. Paul de Vera, OSB

The following as their chairpersons were also appointed to chair these standing committees:

Membership – Mrs. Esperanza Sta. Cruz
Elections – Mr. Pacifico Austria
Finance – Mrs. Josefa Manahan
Programs & Projects – Fr. Robert J. Suchan, SJ
Constitution – Miss Myrna Feliciano

PAARL was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on 16 February 1981 (under SEC Certificate of Registration No. 97479) as the Philippine Association of Academic and Research Libraries, with the following objectives to:

  • encourage and promote the collection, organization and dissemination of information on research and academic library work;
  • develop the usefulness and efficiency of these types of library service and librarianship;
  • enhance the professional welfare and mutual aid among its members; and
  • d) cooperate with other organizations for the purpose of fulfilling the above objectives and purposes.

The Constitution and By-Laws were amended several times: on 21 May 1977, 27 January 1979, 31 January 1985, January 1987, January 1989, 29 January 1993, 26 January 1996, and 29 January 1999. On 8 June 2004, it was reincorporated (under SEC Certificate of Registration No. 2000406833), to its present name, “Philippine Association of Academic/ Research Librarians”, together with its New By-Laws, which were adopted on 30 January 2004. Three amendments to these By-Laws were approved and ratified on 29 January 2010 during the Annual Meeting of Members held at St. Paul University-Quezon City.

Under the 2004 By-Laws, the new corporate objectives were to:

  • promote equitable access to and effective use of recorded knowledge in support of teaching, research, scholarship, and community service;
  • articulate the concerns of academic and research libraries and their institutions, and influence information policy development affecting the future of academic and research libraries;
  • develop best practices and standards for the improvement of these types of library service and librarianship;
  • develop a corps of professional librarians and information specialists in academic and
    research institutions; and,
  • cooperate with other organizations of similar aims.