AS HIS way of building a community of Filipino readers, a Thomasian architect-cum-literary enthusiast envisioned a plan that is far from a traditional library—a mobile and unconfined “pop-up library.”
William Ti, Jr., who obtained his Architecture degree from the University in 2002 and master’s degree in Urban Design from the National University of Singapore in 2012, began his so-called Book Stop Project on April 23 last year.
Book Stop Project, an urban initiative project of WTA Architecture and Design Studio, is a pop-up public library of about 12 square meters built in steel and wood where passersby can borrow and exchange academic and literary books.
Fascinated by numerous pop-up libraries during his trip in Moscow, Ti together with his architecture team launched the project in line with the celebration of World Book Day and National Literature Month
Ti, who is also an avid reader of fantasy novels, explained how his passion in reading motivated him to plan the Book Stop Project.
“It (fantasy novel) shows you the different possibilities, like how the world can be different and in architecture, it’s very important,” Ti told the Varsitarian.
Aiming to bring the books closer to people, Ti thought of building an “accessible and barrier-free” library where readers can interact and share their ideas about the books.
“Our perception of libraries is school work. We want to change that and make them realize that library can actually be a fun place,” he said.
Last July 22, Ti discussed his project in the Philippine Children’s Book Summit at the Toyota-GT Asian Center in University of the Philippines-Diliman.
Ti emphasized how the Book Stop Project provides a reading community, especially for street children.
“You might also have parents who are reading for you when you were younger, but they (street children) didn’t have. So imagine the kind of change that is being introduced into their lives,” he said.
Ti said he felt fulfilled and surprised when his Book Stop Project was announced as among the winners of 2017 Architizer A+ Awards which is an international awards program that annually recognizes best architectural projects and products.
“You see there the power of an idea. With such a small space, it was able to beat other [international] projects,” Ti said.
Ti considers the lack of support from the government as the biggest challenge in improving the Book Stop Project.
“They’re like ‘Okay, congratulations you got a good job’ and that’s it. We’ve talked to different government agencies, but it’s very disappointing,” he said.
Book Stop Project also serves as a venue of different literary events such as the gathering of spoken word poetry enthusiasts, exchanging of books, storytelling for children and talks from different authors.
Book Stop Project has been set up on a number of locations such as Plaza Roma in front of Manila Cathedral, Plaza del Carmen in front of San Sebastian Church, Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati and Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.