TO preserve its archive of countless historical books, rare literary works, and valuable reference materials for future generations, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) launched Lumina Pandit II on May 26 at the UST Miguel de Benavides Library.
The project, Lumina Pandit, began in 2011 in time for the oldest university in Asia’s quadricentennial anniversary with the aim to preserve, digitize and publish rare and old books of the library’s heritage section.
This year, the second edition of Lumina Pandit features an exhibit and a book of the same name, both of which were unveiled at the launch.
The event also saw the realization of a million-peso investment for the cause from private company, Union Bank led by chief executive officer Justo Ortiz.
“As Filipinos we have much to be proud of. We have much to share with the rest of the world,” Ortiz said when asked why his company decided to support Lumina Pandit.
He also noted the importance of knowing Philippine history through reading books because it not only allows Filipinos to understand their culture, but also to become better individuals.
Moreover, he believed that through Lumina Pandit II, UST could enrich the “pagkataong Pilipino—to become the best of who we are.”
Ortiz dedicated the book Lumina Pandit II: A Continuum to the ancestors of the Filipinos, “whose life stories collectively through time have defined us as Filipinos.”
At the end of his speech, the businessman encouraged everyone to live out the true meaning of Lumina Pandit, which is to “spread light.”
For his part, prefect of libraries and Father Angel Aparicio, O.P, expressed the significance of the UST library in the growth not only of the university’sa students but of the nation in general.
“The UST Library—that gave text books and reading materials for its students throughout 400 years—has been pivotal in the formation and growth of the nation. And therefore, it is by revisiting [this heritage collection]that Filipinos of today or anyone interested in the history of this nation will benefit from doing so,” said the prefect of libraries.
The preservation process
UST’s library’s heritage collection contains about 30,000 volumes of books and documents cultivated from 1492 to 1900. As expected, to be able to restore these centuries-old items is a meticulous and tedious process.
Diana Padilla, head librarian of UST’s Antonio V. Del Rosario Heritage library, explained the steps that were undertaken during the conservation process.
It begins with a physical analysis to evaluate the current condition of a book, followed by a chemical analysis to test how the books will react to the substances to be used in the next steps.
Once the book passes the initial chemical analysis, it goes through a series of other treatments like alkalization, bleaching, physical stabilization, drying, and trimming. After it passes the quality control checking, the pages will be bound together and encased for
Finally, the restored book goes through one final physical analysis before it is scanned and eventually uploaded to the library’s database.
Samples of these digitized books can now be accessed via the library’s website at library.ust.edu.ph/digitallibrary.html.