TEXT & PHOTO: Kaycie Gayle
In the middle of a footpath of Plaza Roma in the heritage district of Intramuros is a mobile pop-up library. The structure is robustly made of steel and has an odd fixture of a slanted roof with shelves that houses a collection of pre-loved books with wooden benches inside where readers can freely seat.
Steel made mobile library
The idea behind this Book Stop Project is to ignite public’s interest in books, promoting a passion for reading for the next generations while encouraging others to share by enabling anybody to borrow books as well as donate old ones already gathering dust at home.
This pop-up library has a leap of faith on Honesty System with not one attendant or registration counter around. Anyone can just walk up to it, pick up a book, and sit on a bench to read without having to register for anything. However, the possibility of losing books is expected, and in order to increase and maintain its collections, everyone is encouraged to donate books, although it is significantly being replenished when they hold events such as open mic poetry reading, heritage talks, and storytelling sessions. These occasional community events are being held to pull in more people to check out its shelves and to serve as an avenue where people will be able to show their love for books and reading while making acquaintances in the process and donate should they want to.
The Book Stop Project attracts bookworms, plain curious ones, or even those who want to read but have no means of purchasing a book. Hence, while browsing the bookshelves you may encounter a regular crowd of bibliophiles, passersby, curious tourists or even little children who still have to learn to read but love print materials. An ordinary sight in here are few street toddlers who are sharing and browsing few collections of hardbound picture books left in the lower shelf. Good thing that the library has a lot of collection of children’s books for these kids who are deprived of books. Discipline has been instilled in them as they return and even arrange the books on the shelves after looking at them. To ensure that they will always have something to read and a book to look forward to browse, anybody who have few items from their book collections that is no longer being used and may just be consuming space may leave it on the shelves of The Book Project as it may spark joy to another eager hungry reader.
A street child browsing a picture book
For those who would like to visit this pop up library, it is open to all 24 hours of the day. While For those who wish to donate or even become a regular book donor may keep in touch and follow The Book Stop Project in Instagram and Facebook. It is where they post updates about the exact location and latest announcements of The Book Stop Project
The Book Stop Project is a concept by WTA Architecture and Design Studio. This advocacy initiated by them deserves support as it shows that libraries need to be more accessible to anyone without discrimination by making it part of the urban landscape. Thus by making public libraries convenient we trigger a passion for reading and learning accessible as well.