As a child, the public library two short blocks away from our house was the place where my brother and I hung out most April afternoons. The librarian was a nice lady who let us borrow as many books as we wanted; she was just happy that there were kids reading them. I started with illustration books, children’s books with stickers (I detached the stickers, sorry Miss Librarian, for being a thief), and later on, moved on to Philippine historical books.
Those April afternoons, having my nose in a book, feet dangling above the red painted concrete floors and elbows firmly planted on the long wooden table, with the fresh air of a small town breezing through the large double doors and capiz windows of the library, were some of the most enjoyable times I had as a wannabe nerd. I did not turn out to be a 100% nerd, but the enjoyment I derive from reading did not waver.
I have not been inside that library in almost two decades. Truth be told, I have not been inside a library in order to read or borrow books for quite some time now. I am sure the younger ones, who were born clutching a tablet and could send an SMS before they could crawl, have it worse.
It is a good thing that WTA Architecture and Design Studio introduced The Book Stop Project, a pop-up library that appears throughout Metro Manila public places that have “high volume of pedestrian traffic”. It stays in one place for two months, and then it changes its address. The Book Stop moves from one area to another to reach the most number of Filipinos who would not have come in contact with books, much less enter a library building.
The Book Stop Project encourages those who enter the pop-up library to read books they like inside The Book Stop and to exchange quality books they have read so that others will have the opportunity to enrich themselves and let their imagination run wild, with other quality books left by other participants.
I had my first good look at The Book Stop Project in Ayala Triangle Gardens last year, during Instituto Cervantes Manila’s Día Internacional del Libro. As a volunteer for the event, I saw it before it was fully operational and how people enjoyed using it throughout my 12-hour shift. To say that it was a hit among the Día del Libro participants would be an understatement. It attracted visitors like bees to honey.
Due to the warm welcome The Book Stop received, it reincarnated into a wooden staircase in Día del Libro 2017. While the interiors of The Book Stop offered more than 800 books to be read, exchanged and loved, the stairs exterior became the center of many activities throughout the day, which included the ribbon cutting ceremonies, cadena de poesía, and storytelling session, among other things.
Almost a month after The Book Stop captured the hearts and minds of hundreds of people, the structure donated by Cheng Kim Pue and Rosita Cheng countinues to stand proud in the heart of Ayala Triangle Gardens inspiring passersby to enter the immortal world of words.
For related entries, please read Instituto Cervantes Manila’s Día Internacional Del Libro (2017), Museo del Prado en Filipinas, Part I, and Museo del Prado en Filipinas, Part II. Museo del Prado en Filipinas exhibit is also a project of WTA Architecture and Design Studio.
For book donations, project and venue partnership benefits and terms, please contact Bruce Tyrone Te Ingat at (02) 721-0418 or send an email to email@example.com.
For more information, please visit www.wtadesignstudio.com/thebookstop