Saturday, January 14, 2012

Death of Libraries

I wonder if any one of you still remember how books smelled?

Stupid question maybe, but with the advent of the Internet, research has become easier and literally at your fingertips.  But being a fan of a niche variant called Japanese Pop-culture (also spelled as m-a-n-g-a), its also understandable how hard it is to find a library catering to these needs.

I used to believe that online libraries were there to compensate for whatever the actual real life library lacks.  I remember going to a library (there used to be a Japanese section in the National Library, a tiny nook somewhere there. It's gone now) where I would check out copies of magazines of a language I never really quite understood but would only check out the pictures, which includes some fashion mags at that time.  Also when I was studying in San Beda, at one time they had two copies of 1990's issues of New Type (they too disappeared for some strange reason).

Manga Cafe's soon came in the dawn of the Millennium, the most prominent at that time was Manga Kissa in Makati.  They had a library of both manga and pop culture and fashion magazines you can read at a fee.  They survived for just over three years, probably because they had less and less customers coming over and because, as some speculate, that the price rendered per reader would rather be spent on something else worthwhile.

These days, the vacuum is now filled up by the Japan Foundation Library, located at the ground floor of the Pacific Star Building, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue corner Makati Avenue Makati City.  Now before you guys start running towards the said establishment, there are certain ground rules you must follow to be able to use the library properly.  And another thing, being a Japanese library, do not expect any translated copies of your favorite manga (unless it has been upgraded to such).

While I enjoy today's access to everything I need to help improve my cosplay hobby, I still miss the times I have to fill in the blanks in most details using my imagination.  Nowadays you cant stay naive with whatever details needed for our cosplay costume, as there are plenty of articles and tutorials out there in the Internet.  I used to run a mecha tutorial website back then, as a means to help fill up the gap with the lack of information regarding that topic by present libraries.  Now forums filled the role, and eventually social network sites.

But I still miss actually going to a library and doing research there.  Going to a library meant having to be committed to a certain project worth finishing (as the act of going to the library is a very physical one: commuting and walking of being the most extreme form, hehe).  Nowadays, doing research is in danger of being taken granted, as the Internet would always be considered your perpetual life buffer for information.  With that considered, how far would an actually library fare in the face of possible extinction?

1 comment:

  1. Our neighborhood in Tondo had a public library just right across the street, and behind it was a teeny forest. It was two of my favorite places to hang out, One to read books, the other to catch bugs XD