Life’s mission: Senior citizen turns home into a library

Reading is said to be the fastest way to sharpen the mind, learn various knowledge, revisit the past, reach the future, and travel to different places even without fare, tickets, or a passport.

In the current era, where almost everything is considered modern, even reading is being done through modern technology. Thus, some libraries seem to be "gathering dust."

Perhaps, especially among the "Gen Z" generation, there may be a lack of awareness on how to research and read books inside a library.

That's why netizens were amazed and admired Lolo Hernando Guanlao from Balagtas Street, Barangay La Paz, Makati City, because of his home that resembles a large library.

Senior citizen turns home into a library
Photo courtesy: ABS-CBN News

According to reports, from the exterior of the house to the backyard and second floor, various books owned by Hernando are neatly arranged. These include textbooks from school, encyclopedias, almanacs, atlases, other academic books, up to literary books, which, if counted, are said to reach thousands of pieces.

Hernando's house is always visited by his neighbors, whether young or old, students or those just hanging around, to borrow books from him, and it's all free of charge!

In his “home library,” there are no restrictions; individuals can possess or lend as many books as they desire, and they are welcome to contribute books as well.

Even though he provides them without cost and without any restrictions, his library is consistently restocked with new materials because of donations from different people.

His kids have taken on the responsibility of organizing the library, but it remains disorganized since there is no catalog to assist readers in finding specific titles.

Affectionately known as "Mang Nanie" by his neighbors, Guanlao, a 72-year-old accountant, initiated the library in 2000. He began with just 50 books he discovered in his cabinet after becoming disillusioned with his role as a political strategist.

His spouse, who sadly passed away nearly a year ago from a stroke, had backed his choice to establish the community library, even though they were financially struggling at the time.

Hernando further stated that he sees this as a life's mission, knowing that he can enlighten people's lives, especially by aiding the poorest of the poor in his own simple way, especially for those students who have no extra money to buy books and reading materials. It’s his unique and attractive way of giving back to the community and humanity.

“The more you give, the more it's rewarded a thousandfold. That's why I'm still here,” he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News. His story was also featured on TV Patrol.

Here are the netizens’ comments:

“Bless you sir for your unselfish work. You are such a wonderful person.”

“Napanood ko sya kahapon.. lakas-makaantig ng puso. Imagine, halos lahat nakatutok na sa cellphone but his faith and dedication to share books for FREE is really a priceless.”

“We are in greater need of such benevolent individuals.”

“Love this, sarap magbasa ng mga books lalo na kung may lessons kang makukuha.”

“Kung sakali man na may pumunta at nais kumuha ng libro ng libre, kahit papaano eh may mag abot ng kahit konting tulong para sa kanya. Maging pera man, pagkain, o kahit ano'ng pwedeng makatulong sa kanya.”

Kudos, Mang Nanie!

— Noel Ed Richards, The Summit Express

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