Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Library Stories Part 1

I was recently reading some entries from The Filipino Librarian and it got me thinking, what were my experiences with libraries?

I think I already discussed before (How old was that entry? One year, two years ago?) about the myth of libraries -- TV and teachers will tell us that if we need a book, we should visit our local library. But the fact is, it's physically impossible for any library (barring "digital libraries") to stock every single book in the world, much less every single book a person might be interested in reading.

As a kid, I wasn't your conventional reader. That is, I spent most of my growing years reading magazines instead of books (and I'm not regretting that fact). That's not to say I wasn't in the school library often--I was, but it's not because of the books. And neither was I alone in the library. In fact, it was frequently populated. But again, it's not because of the books. Of course when I entered college, the state of the university library wasn't any different. And I'll be brutally honest, here's the reasons why people were in the library (whether I was in grade school, high school, or college):

  1. The place has an air-conditioner. It's cool. It might not seem much to foreigners, but bear in mind that the Philippines is a tropical country that has been influenced by Western colonial mentality (we have skating rinks in our malls!).
  2. It's a good place to sleep, everything from sofas to tables. Oh, and air-conditioning too!
  3. It's a good place to chat, where bullies won't bother you and there's table and chairs which you can use.
What fascinates me is that those 3 motivations have been true for the past fifteen years. Well, lately, I'd add in #4 as free Internet usage. Of course for me, the library only worked in a school environment (i.e. back when I was still studying, and applies to teachers/professors as well). I mean when was the last time you visited the library outside of schoolwork?

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