About Us

Reading Club 2000 is an informal library set up by Hernando Guanlao outside his ancestral home in central Manila, Philippines. Hernando Guanlao, known by his nickname Nanie, wanted to encourage his local community to share his joy of reading.

Guanlao started his library in 2000, shortly after the death of his parents. He was looking for something to honour their memory, and that was when he hit upon the idea of promoting the reading habit he'd inherited.

"I saw my old textbooks upstairs and decided to come up with the concept of having the public use them," he says.  So he put the books - a collection of fewer than 100 - outside the door of his house to see if anyone wanted to borrow them. They did, and they brought the books back with others to add to the collection - and the library was born.

At Nanie's Reading Club, there is no membership, borrower's card or ID required. One may keep the books or return them. "I encourage sharing with their neighbors when they are done", Nanie explains. One wonders what is to stop anyone from taking all the books? Nanie shakes his head and assures us: "The books have multiplied".  he has no idea how many books are in his possession, but there are easily 2,000 or 3,000 on the shelves and in the boxes stacked outside his front door.  And that's before you move inside, where books are rapidly encroaching into every available space. You can hardly get into the front room, the car has long since been moved out of the garage, and books are even stacked all the way up the stairs.

The library is not advertised, but somehow, every day, a steady stream of people find their way there.

About Us page - Nanie

On Balagtas Street in Barangay La Paz, Makati, one man has turned his house into a 24-hour public library, a dream come true for neighborhood bibliophiles.

At Hernando Guanlao's Reading Club 2000, books of all shapes, sizes and subjects cover almost every available space. From the stairs to the sidewalk, Guanlao's collection is never-ending.

Although it may seem that everything can be found online, there's nothing quite like the pleasure of turning pages. While many people prefer to use search engines and ebooks, there are still some who like to spend hours browsing shelves. For such people, libraries are treasure troves.

Reading Club 2000 began back in the year 2000 as a tribute to Guanlao’s late parents, both civil servants.

“They gave me my love of reading,” he says. “I wanted to honor them and to do some kind of community service. So I put my old books — and my brothers’ and sisters’, maybe 100 in all — outside, to see if anyone was interested.”

It took a while for people to work out that this was, as Guanlao puts it, a library “open 24/7, and with no rules,” but the scheme, offering everything from battered crime paperbacks to fashion magazines, manuals, arcane histories and school textbooks, is booming.

It is helped by the fact that despite a 1994 act pledging “reading centers throughout the country,” the Philippines, with a population of 92 million, has fewer than 700 public libraries, and buying books is a luxury many cannot afford.

Fortunately the Reading Club is spreading. Guanlao takes boxes of books into Manila’s neighborhoods himself, on a specially adapted book bike. He has also helped friends set up similar schemes at 10 other sites around the country, and inspired student book drives.