NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
The House Committee on Education led by Chairman Cong. Roman Romulo recognized the First District Congressional Library in Balilihan, Bohol BOT Balilihan Congressional Library as a model library that should be established in all Congressional Districts nationwide.
The committee quickly approved House Bill No. 2666 filed by Cong. Edgar Chatto to make the library fully national and attached to the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) with budget allocation in the GAA for its operations and personnel. Books, reading materials, and equipment are also provided by the NLP.
The facility was created through the initiative of Cong. Chatto in 2008 to provide access to quality library services in underserved areas.
Built right beside the Bohol Island State University-Balilihan Campus which was also founded by Cong. Chatto in 2009 through Republic Act 9722 as the 6th campus of the university, the library is now serving close to forty thousand clients.
NLP Director Cesar Gilbert Adriano thanked Chatto for the trailblazing project which now serves a model for other congressional districts nationwide.
In virtual awarding ceremonies just last August 25, the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) and The Asia Foundation (TAF) recognized the Balilihan Congressional Library as Top Performing Congressional Library of 2019.
The library was cited for its extensive library services, which include services for children, PWD, Senior Citizen, Out of School Youth and Community Outreach, Tech4ed Center, Digital Computer Literacy Reference, Storytelling session, and Online References.
With representatives present during the committee meeting showing great interest in having a similar facility in their respective districts, Committee Chair Roman invited Chatto in the next committee hearing as a resource person on how congressional libraries and municipal libraries can be opened nationwide.
Chatto loved books and nurtured reading since his grade school days. During his days as Kabataang Barangay when he was president of the federation, he initiated the creation of the Balilihan Municipal Library.
Even as Vice Governor, he expanded the Bohol Provincial Library and set up the Build a Library, Build a Future Program to build more libraries.