Taking inspiration from the Maginhawa community pantry, a freelance writer put up a community library in Quezon City.
Lorna Zaragosa, owner of The Happy LibLarry, said she started the mobile library in January after her father died of a heart attack while being stuck in the province during the lockdown.
Her community library, just like other community pantries, also has canned goods and vegetables.
“He was a voracious reader so I thought of making a library that is named after him, Larry,” Zaragosa told the Manila Bulletin.
Pre-pandemic, Zaragosa would do storytelling at Museo Pambata and during outreach programs initiated by non-government organizations. She also used to donate books and teach arts and crafts to children.
“I have been sending books for free to readers across the Philippines for quite some time already so book sharing has been a regular favorite routine for me,” she added.
“When I first discovered the community pantry that was started by Ms. AP Non in Maginhawa, QC, I was inspired to follow suit as more and more communities have started helping out those who are in need,” she shared.
Zaragosa said he has long been wanting to put up a mobile library cart before the pandemic so she bought a collapsible steel cart so she could place her books and share them with kids in their barangay.
However, as the number of coronavirus cases (COVID-19), continues to rise, she opted to stay at home first.
“Aside from the surge in COVID cases here in the Philippines, apparently, the number of people who called the local suicide hotline has also increased because more and more Filipinos have become depressed for losing jobs and their loved ones. And then I thought I should share my source of joy — books,” Zaragosa said, adding that books also kept her away from her depression and anxiety attacks.
Riddled with doubts, Zaragosa thought the community library wouldn’t be successful.
“[B]ecause people these days need to be more practical and prioritize bringing food to the table and books is out of the picture,” she continued.
But her community library was met with people excited to dig up her collections and to pick something up from it.
“I got a bit overwhelmed and emotional when people started picking the books and they were very grateful to have them and bring them home. Most of the women took children’s books and expressed how excited they are to bring home these books to their children since they couldn’t go to bookshops anymore,” she said.
“While the teens told me how happy they are to find some books they have long been wanting to read. The adults were very cheerful too to bring home the canned goods and other food items. It actually made my heart swell with joy. I wasn’t expecting it to be received well,” she added.
Zaragoza said she is also considering taking her community library elsewhere in the future, but in the meantime, the library can be found in front of a carinderia in Benefit St. Brgy. Sangandaan, Project 8, Quezon City.