By Arvin Santiago

Author Rick Holland once said “the world belongs to those who read”.

In Antipolo City, there’s a place that belongs to all bookworms. Regardless of age, gender, or social status, anyone is welcome to visit the Antipolo Book Nook, a new attraction inside Sumulong Park.

It’s been six months since the Book Nook was unveiled to the public. This first open library in Rizal was launched December 23, 2022. Since the day the library opened its doors, readers from all over the city have taken an interest in reading and borrowing books.

Yes, you read that correctly. Inside the Nook, you may borrow books for free. You may even walk around the park while reading your selected book. Borrowers simply need to fill out the logbook provided within the book nook. The way things work here is comparable to an honesty store.

If a borrower desires to take the book home, they must also replace it with another book; this is the open library’s golden rule. However, due to a surplus of books, the security said that they sometimes let readers obtain books even without replacement. Book donations are still accepted since the urge to read and learn never fades, and many people continue to visit the book nook.

Take, for example, Rosemarie “Ross” Albon. A 25-year-old who is a passionate reader. She is a busy working professional, yet she still finds time to read new novels that have grabbed her interest. Ross stated that she does not frequently go to the book nook; nonetheless, this is one of the rare times to visit the open library.

While reading her first book in this library she was informed she could take the book home. She said that she enjoys reading it more at the book nook because of the ambiance. The view of Sumulong Park and Antipolo Cathedral adds to the entire reading experience as well as the ambient noise of the people all around the park.

When asked about her suggestions how the library may be improved, Ross replied, “I think chair like, ang hirap kasing magbasa nang matagal lalo na kapag nai-immerse ka na sa libro. Mas maganda kung may chairs. Sana mayroon silang bulletin para doon ididikit yung suggestions. Pero so far, so good. Maganda,” she said.

In terms of maintaining and organizing the books, the project was made in partnership with the Antipolo City Library which replaces and selects the books to be displayed every day. Ensuring that there is a new book on the shelves for everyone whenever they go into the nook in the park.

There are also friendly guards who are watching over the library but don’t fret! People can still come and go freely in Book Nook and they won’t interrupt your reading. You can even ask them for suggestions and they will reply with a smile as they ensure that the space you are reading in is safe.

Although there is a space for the Book Nook, it is far from completed. People can still donate books to the Antipolo City Library, especially marketing, medical and engineering books.

Book Nook is a product of the partnership between Rotaract Club of Antipolo East and the Antipolo City Government to help expand the clubs’ mission of giving literacy and basic education. They are also willing to help other organizations if they plan to create this project in other municipalities of Rizal.