Just as I was about to hit my early teen years, I began my love affair with books. It was honestly a decision based on a whim--me and my best friend found a series of fantasy novels available in the local bookstore.
During the summer of that year, I paid a second visit to the US. After getting bored doing the routine trips of visiting the various theme parks such as Great America, Disney Land, and Universal Studios, I settled into a more mundane lifestyle during the rest of my stay. There were two highlights for me during those two months. One was a visit to the bookstore--it was like no other. I never saw so many books stocked in one place--and so many genres! The other was a visit to one of the public libraries in San Francisco.
Now I had high expectations for libraries. After hearing so much about it from TV, I expected a Borgesian library with shelves dwarfing over me and containing all the books I wanted to read. The reality, however, was something more mundane. The public library I visited was pretty much like the library in my grade school and high school. It had a modest size and contained a couple of shelves filled with an assortment of books, magazines, and periodicals. To be honest, the bookstores I visited housed more books than the library (and in better condition too).
It was also interesting to note that back then (this was in the early 90's), the library was still using the Dewey Decimal System. It did have a nice assortment of books but nowhere as comprehensive as I'd have liked. What caught me by surprise however was that the library was stocking copies of GamePro magazine (although my personal collection was much more complete). Just goes to show how diverse a library can be.
When I returned to the Philippines, my perception of the school library changed. It didn't seemed so little, so tiny--my vision of what a library should be had been dispelled. Our local libraries didn't seem so bad...
Library Stories Part 1