Summary Library Profile

Establishment and operation

The Dioso Library was established on 2 April 2004 in honor of one of Pandan’s sons, the late Philippine lawyer and diplomat Leocadio A. Dioso.

It is privately-owned & operated, but functions officially as the municipal public library of Pandan.  The Library is the first one ever established in Pandan since it was founded in the mid-17th century.  It is also the only public library currently operating in Antique’s northern half, where eight (pop. 178,000) of the province’s 18 towns are located.  Only three other public libraries function in Antique, all of which are in the province’s southern half (10 towns, pop. 302,000).  This problem of lack of public libraries exists not only in Antique but is nationwide in scope.

The Library was founded by retired UN official Leo Dioso and his wife Chiqui.  Its day-to-day operations are handled by five full-time and two part-time local staff, headed by a  Director.   Supporting them are nearly 100 active and retired schoolteachers, day care workers, and other local professionals who volunteer their services as storytellers and puppeteers. They received special training — organized by the Dioso Library in cooperation with the National Library of the Philippines — on how to entertain and promote reading among children through storytelling programs and puppet shows.

The Library receives annual financial grants from the Provincial Government of Antique and the Municipal Government of Pandan.  It also receives, and welcomes, contributions in cash or in kind (computer equipment, books, etc.) from private individuals, foundations, and other institutions in the Philippines and other countries, particularly the United States.

Our primary mission

To instill the love of reading among members of the community, particularly its children, and to make available to them — completely free — a wide selection of books, Internet-ready computers, and other library materials, facilities, services and programs, to both encourage and enable them to adopt reading, and library use, as lifelong habits for their personal development, entertainment, and overall well-being.

Our motto

Today’s readers, tomorrow’s leaders!

Library services and programs

Free entry to the Library of any visitor, regardless of age, residence or nationality

Free Dioso Library membership and library card

With library card:

  • Free loans of books and audio-video tapes or discs (except Reference materials)
  • Free use of computers and free internet access
  • Free access to eLib (the Philippine Electronic Library Project, see

Free storytelling, reading, and other programs for children

Free movie showings for both adults and children

Library collection and facilities

20,000 volumes/issues, for both adults & children, of fiction and nonfiction books; encyclopedias, atlases, dictionaries, self-help books & other Reference materials; local and international newspapers and magazines; books on audiotape format; movie videotapes and DVDs

Separate Reading & Reference Room, Computer Room, and Children’s Room

Separate Filipiniana Section – Containing books about the Philippines and/or by Filipino writers

Separate United Nations Corner – Containing publications on the various activities of, and critical issues dealt by, the United Nations and its specialized agencies, programs and projects worldwide

External stage and grounds for live presentation of Library and community programs

If you would like to help us help our children and others ensure a bright and happy future for themselves, please click here to access our donations page.

The Philippines needs many many more public libraries

Reacting to an article published in the Feb. 21, 2010 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Dioso Library’s founder & Executive Director wrote the Inquirer the following letter,  entitled “Recipe to make our kids regular readers:  More reading programs plus more public libraries”:

We should have more of the Inquirer’s Read-Along sessions and other reading programs, including storytelling, whose primary objective is to open up the world of books to children and to show them – in a highly entertaining, and therefore more effective, way –  that reading is both a fun and beneficial thing to do.

The only problem:  Reading programs are not enough, by themselves alone, to achieve the overall and longer-term objective of making children fall in love with reading and become regular readers for life.

Read-alongs are great in sparking a child’s initial interest in books and reading.  But something more is needed to convert that initial interest into a real love of books and  a lifetime reading habit.

According to experts, children need at least two other things to actually adopt such a  habit:  (1) As much guidance, encouragement and example as they can get from their usual role models – their parents, teachers, and older siblings — and (2) regular access to books and other reading materials.

This letter is primarily concerned with factor No. 2, which I believe is a more difficult hurdle to overcome in the Philippines.  The main problem:  There is a severe lack of public libraries in the country.

Public libraries are the only institutions in the world whose primary function is to provide the public with free access to books and other services.  Many of them offer a wide range of both fiction and nonfiction books, in addition to encyclopedias and other basic reference materials, for both children and adults.  A growing number (at least in the U.S. and other developed countries) now also offer free use of computers as well as free internet access.  In addition, some of them organize regular storytelling and other programs that promote reading, appreciation of the arts and culture, etc.

Like parks or many other government-run facilities, entry to public libraries and use of their materials and services are free to the general public, regardless of residence or nationality.  Properly equipped and operated, a public library can be the most economical and effective source of materials and services that anyone – child or adult –needs to start and nurture a reading habit.

However, as stated earlier, the Philippines doesn’t have enough public libraries to meet the need of our big and ever-growing population.  This problem is compounded by the fact that, of the public libraries that we do have, a significant number is under-funded, understaffed, poorly equipped, or in bad physical condition.  Many of these “operationally-challenged” libraries have reportedly stopped functioning already and continue to exist in name only.

According to the latest available data from the National Library of the Philippines, there are currently 688 public libraries in the country, of all types:  4 congressional, 52 provincial, 97 city, and 535 municipal.  There should be many more:  the relevant   Philippine law (Republic Act 7743, enacted June 17, 1994) mandates the creation and operation of a public library in every congressional district, city and municipality throughout the country.  On this basis there should be a total of 1,851 libraries in all, one for each of the country’s 220 congressional districts, 136 cities, and 1,495 municipalities.

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2009 highlight: Dioso Library celebrates 5th straight year of operation
Pandan's 2009 Mardi Gras parade and competition

Pandan's 2009 Mardi Gras parade and competition

The Dioso Library became five years old on April 2nd, 2009, but the birthday party was not held until 23 days later, on April 25th.  That was when the host town of Pandan reached the climax of its annual fiesta week, which started on the 20th.  On hand for the evening celebration at the town plaza were Antique Governor Sally Zaldivar Perez, who handed Library founder Leo Dioso her annual “gift” in the presence of Mayor John Sanchez and other municipal officials as well as a big audience comprising thousands of Pandananons.

Earlier, the last day of the fiesta started with the Mardi Gras parade and competition, involving groups of dancers and acrobats in colorful costumes, each group (like the one in the above photo) representing one of the 34 barangays (barrios) making up the town of Pandan.

The Governor’s gift was, as in prior years, a cheque representing the Provincial Government of Antique’s annual financial grant to the Library.  Leo thanked both the Governor and the Mayor for their continuing generous support, which enabled the Library to operate successfully and without interruption for five straight years as Pandan’s first-ever municipal library.

More News & Events

Other News & Events

A storytelling session

A storytelling session in the Library's Children's Room

Library Hours and Regular Programs

1:00 – 5:00 pm

8:00 am – 5:00 pm


Fridays from 6:30 pm
Free movie showing – Open to everyone

Saturdays from 2:00 pm
Storytelling for children

Abe Lincoln & the benefits of reading

“The things I want to know are in books.
My best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I haven’t read.”
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Abraham Lincoln with his son Tod

Abraham Lincoln with his son Tod

Generally regarded as the greatest of all U.S. Presidents, Abraham Lincoln was born poor and could afford only a total of 18 months’ schooling. However, he was a lover of books, reading every book he could get his hands on, once walking 20 miles (32 kms.) just to borrow one. His wide and extensive reading accomplishments included mastering the Bible, Shakespeare, and English and American history. In addition to being a successful lawyer and politician, he was an accomplished public speaker, often leaving his audience in rapt attention and in awe at the power and eloquence of his words and ideas. As President, he is hailed for, among other achievements, preserving the Union during the American Civil War and for beginning the process, through his Emancipation Proclamation, that led to the end of slavery in the United States. His “Gettysburg Address”, “House Divided Speech”, and “Second Inaugural Address”, which he personally wrote and delivered during his Presidency, rank among the greatest speeches ever made in history.