Library Books

Today there was an open class (math in English!) at my son’s school, followed by PTA committee meetings. I signed up for the library committee, although I had no idea what it might entail, simply because I love books and love to be around them. I must say, however, that I am appalled by the state of the books I’ve seen in Japanese school libraries, both public and this private one. None of the books are bound in that plastic library binding. At my daughter’s school, some older books are mended with duct tape. At both schools, the books are in pretty bad shape. The climate doesn’t help, of course. There is no climate control in the libraries here so the books are at the mercy of the humidity. I suppose, as a committee member, I could suggest book-binding as a project, and maybe I will, although it would be A LOT of work and all the other mothers will hate me. I’m surprised, however, that in a country as literate as this one, libraries don’t take better care of their books.

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4 thoughts on “Library Books

  1. I looked back in your April archives to see if you mentioned something about your son’s school. (I was surprised to read that he was studying math in English, which I guess means it’s a type of English immersion system – anyway, it sounds great – how lucky for you all to have that option.)

    I never found a post about the school, but the first archived post about your MIL going to Tokyo to clean the Imperial Palace blew me away! I’ve lived here for 16 years and had never heard of such a thing. Truly an ‘only in Japan’ type of experience.

    And then reading further, I came across a number of posts about your daughter. My heart really went out to both of you reading about your first visit to your son’s school.

  2. I read your post a while back about the mothers sewing the badges for your daughter’s camp. I would be surprised if they didn’t jump on the idea of doing some beautiful book binding with glee! After all, the japanese are known for their love of paper art. Maybe you could suggest a ‘binding day’ where mothers come to the library and are given some books and a pile of paper, and they can bind books and put the titles on with beautiful pensmanship (and a lot better than I used to do with brown paper and marker pen at school!). You know that it would be done wonderfully by them, and make the books last a lot longer.

    I really enjoy reading your blog. I am a Brit who was born in Japan, and worked there for a short time 12 years ago. I love reading your insights in to the (very different!) Japanese culture.

  3. Good on you for joining the library commitee, hopefully you will be able to impress upon them the need to handle and care for their books the right way so that they are preserved for a long time. Wish my children’s school had a library commitee – I would have loved to have been a part of it.

    Good luck on your new endeavor!

  4. Thanks, Jean, for reading up in the archives. Yes, my son is in an English immersion program and we’re lucky to have that option, though it is kind of expensive.

    Jen, you’re probably right about the book-binding. I’ll bring it up next chance I get.

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