What started as a private collection of 50 books would turn into nearly 2 million books for 66-year-old Hernando “Mang Nanie” Guanlao – all thanks to the special library he opened to the public.
Even as a child, Mang Nanie loved books. It was something that he inherited from his parents.
Photo credit: Rappler
Back when he was still a kid, he would sell books during summertime so he could help earn money for his and his siblings’ education. He understood how difficult it was for his parents to send their five children to school; thus, he helped out in any way he could.
From Private Collection to Special Public Library
When he had a job, he began collecting books. But seeing how there were only few people who have access to books or have money to buy one yet there were piles of unused books at home, Mang Nanie decided to open his small collection to the public.
At first, Mang Nanie was unsure whether anyone would borrow his books, but people would soon go to his house to borrow some. A lot of people loved that this special library wasn’t as strict as the others – you can borrow as many books as you want and return then anytime you want.
While some might think this would mean Mang Nanie would soon have no books to lend people, the opposite happened. When his regular visitors noticed that there were already few books on the shelves, a lot of them came with boxes of more books to share!
From 50 books, the library would grow to a collection of nearly 2 million books.
The books in Mang Nanie’s library are uncatalogued since he could not really find time to catalog these and keep track of the borrowers, yet it continues to grow each passing day. More books are added by the volunteers, and more people come to check out this unique hangout where books are readily available, for free.
Each day, Mang Nanie hopes to dispatch around 200 books to walk-in readers. When there are few visitors, he checks his email for special requests. He doesn’t solicit for books but his collection continues to grow.
Photo credit: Rappler
He hopes that through his public library, there will be more kids who would be interested in reading and learning.
“When you know how to read, the more places you’ll go,” Mang Nanie shared.
The retiree hopes to continue offering his library to everyone for as long as he could, and most especially when there are still a lot of people who wish to donate books for his mission.