Deprived of public libraries, Filipino students are running out of study spaces

September 23, 2019 - 10:35 PM
Student studying in a cafe
A female student studying in a cafe. (Unsplash/Alex Samuels/File photo)

A tweet of a Filipino teacher about allowing students to stay in restaurants and other similar places to study prompted calls for the establishment of more public libraries and spaces purely dedicated to studying.

Writer and literature professor Ian Rosales Casocot shared his sentiments about an advisory of a McDonald’s branch that prohibits people from studying in its premises.

While the origin or the owner of the picture cannot be determined, it prompted him to express his thoughts about the study ban.

“In a university town? During the run-up to Finals Week? For an establishment that’s open 24 hours? Where the only signs of life in the wee hours are students themselves?” Casocot asked as he shared a picture of the advisory which he didn’t claim ownership of.

The advisory of the particular branch reads:

“We are pleased to request you not to study on our premises. This establishment is intended for everyone who likes to dine-in and enjoys our services and delicious foods that McDonald’s can offer. Thank you.”

In the thread of his post, Casocot wrote that the branch in question was located in Dumaguete, a city in Negros Oriental dubbed the “City of Gentle People.”

He explained his sentiments in a Facebook post hours after he originally tweeted about the fast-food chain’s advisory which has since gained traction.

“Just because a corporation sets ‘rules’ doesn’t mean there should be silence. And it’s not just about corporate social responsibility, it’s also responsiveness to even make your market share better!” Casocot wrote.

“Of course, there should be a compromise somewhere. Let these students study—but tell them they have to order in proportion to their time of stay, to deserve their space. Don’t outright ban studying. I’m a teacher. I know the stress students go through to survive Finals Week,” he added.

While Casocot acknowledged that students have other options for study spaces, he mentioned that it is not always ideal.

“I know they lack proper places to do their studying, esp. in the interest of safety late at night. There’s the dorm, of course, but they have an eventual ‘lights off’ policy, and the bed entices. Co-work spaces are too expensive, and they close early,” he said.

Someone in Twitter just called me "an entitled c*nt" for calling out McDo. "Their establishment, their rules," the…

Posted by Ian Rosales Casocot on Saturday, September 21, 2019


Casocot mentioned that a coffee shop, unlike the fast-food chain, has “willingly embraced” what he called a “peculiarity” and has reportedly remodeled its structure “to accommodate more students studying, complete with tables equipped with outlets for laptops.”

His Twitter post has opened up conversations about the use of restaurants and other similar places as spaces for studying.

Those against Casocot’s views pointed out that the fast-food chain is originally an establishment meant for eating and not for studying.

Screenshot by Interaksyon
Screenshot by Interaksyon

While those who agreed with Casocot mentioned that the issue is a “wake-up call” for government to provide more public libraries that operate round-the-clock or at least establishments welcoming to students.

Screenshot by Interaksyon
Screenshot by Interaksyon

Last year, Cebu City opened its 24-hour public library after a student suggested for then-Mayor Tomas Osmeña to adjust its operating hours so that students would not have to study in fast food chains and restaurants.

Less than a week after her post, the provincial government modified the public library’s schedule and enhanced its WiFi facility.

Earlier this year, a librarian shared that there was a significant increase in visitors since the library’s operations had extended round-the-clock.

“We need this program to help the students. The job of the government is to provide service and this is what we are doing now,” Osmeña said before.