My wife and I love to read so we were excited to check out the Antipolo library when we saw the sign near the town hall. We couldn’t figure out how to get into it at first because the whole lower level of the building is taken up by unrelated offices. We had to ask a guard for directions. There’s a narrow stairwell on the left side of the building that leads up to the entrance of the library.
We expected to have to pay a fee to enter, but instead we only had to sign in on their guestbook. We also had to put on home-made shoe coverings before we were allowed to walk around the library. I wasn’t too thrilled with that, since they’re reused without being washed. I’m not a big fan of getting toe fungus from strangers. Oddly enough, when we left, we were asked to deposit the shoe covers back at the entrance and then told to walk through the library to a separate exit without them. Kinda defeats the purpose doesn’t it?
I’m really impressed with the fact that Antipolo has a library at all, though I can’t say I’m all that impressed with the titles available. The place is small. It’s about the size of a small classroom and has 8 to 10 racks of books which are about 6 feet tall and 6 tables that each seat 4 people. The books that are available are all very old, some outdated to the point of being useless information, the medical books being the biggest example of that. Medical practices and knowledge change constantly and you can’t learn much that’s still relevant, or even correct, from a textbook that’s 20+ years old. The categories cover very basic topics that seem to focus on high school level education and the area for fiction and literature seemed really small.
There were two or three computer terminals available, but all of them were running what appeared to be a game that’s used to teach basic English and logic with a 5 year old audience in mind. I didn’t notice any signs for Internet access, but I didn’t get to check the terminals.
What the place excels at is providing a relatively cool, quiet place for groups of people to study and read. Peace and quiet is rare in Antipolo. If you happen to want to use the library, I suggest bringing along your own reading material and your own laptop with a mobile broadband USB modem.
Hopefully, better facilities will be available when we move to Manila proper but for a provincial area, this is more than I expected.