The Man Who Turned His Home Into A Public Library

by quoteman on September 21, 2012

I came upon this fun and inspiring story today, about a man in the Philippines who turned his home into a library.

After his parents died 12 years ago, Hernando “Nanie” Guanlao wanted to do something to honor their memory. He figured, since they had instilled in him a love of reading, he’d start a lending library in their honor. He started his “library” of less than 100 books by placing them outside the door of his home, for anyone who wanted to borrow them. There were no rules whatsoever about borrowing and returning.

You’d think his small collection of books would disappear in short order, with no one watching over them, perhaps especially because books are hard to come by in Manila, Philippines. The average price of a book in the Philippines is about 300 pesos ($7 U.S.), and children’s books cost easily twice that. In addition, lending libraries are very rare in the Philippines. Even the national library, in Manila, does not permit people to borrow books.

But, the small library has not disappeared – in fact, it has grown enormously. Many people have joined Nanie’s effort, by adding their own books to his collection. These days, there are books everywhere in and around Nanie’s house – there are easily 2,000 to 3,000 books on the shelves and boxes stacked by his front door. There are books stacked all the way up the stairs. The car has been forced out of the garage to make more room for books. And, Nanie wants to expand to other locations.

From fewer than 100 books to thousands, and growing – and all based on the honor system – what a great success story! I encourage you to read the whole, inspiring story, complete with photos of the library, here.

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