Modern-Day Hero Sets Up Sidewalk Library Offering Free Books in His Home
Nanie Guanlao or better known as Mang Nanie is on a very noble mission: to make books available for people who wish to read. And he wants to make it happen through his Mang Nanie Library, a library on the sidewalk that has enough books for everyone to read—all for free.
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Why the Mang Nanie Library Was Set Up
Mang Nanie had set up a makeshift library in the streets of Balagtas, located in the heart of Makati. His public library, which is simply known as the Mang Nanie Library, shares books for no charge at all. In fact, written in a sign placed just above the rickety tables that house hundreds of books are the words “A good book is easy to find. Free reading to the public.”
Mang Nanie has made it a point that books are shared to everyone, even if he does not receive anything in return. He knows that books play an important role when it comes to imparting knowledge to the younger generation.
The library, which he also nicknamed “Libre-ry,” is situated directly in front of Mang Nanie’s home. He is also accepting old and used books that are still in good condition to add to his collection. Mang Nanie actually began lending comics at age 8, and that idea has been a driving force for his new library today.
The Libre-ry has been set up for two decades now and the collection of books have run up to as many as 3,000. It is a far cry from the library’s humble beginnings, which was composed of limited books taken from Mang Nanie’s own family.
Nowadays, the Mang Nanie Library has become some sort of attraction in the area with visitors from all walks of life marveling over Mang Nanie’s selfless acts and the innate desire to help with his mission. Indeed, his actions embody the true spirit of bayanihan among Filipinos, especially in a nation bombarded with problems such as illiteracy and even poverty.
Helping others entails sacrifice, but for a modern day hero like Mang Nanie, it is still rewarding to see the eager faces of a reader looking for a good book or a child gradually building his curiosity after each book he or she picks up. Hopefully, his actions will inspire others to make a change in their own community one day.