The Tokyo Children’s Library offered quite a unique experience for me. First registering for the event, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Located only several bus stops away from the Nakano Station, the library sits in a quaint, peaceful neighborhood. It’s a small brick building that isn’t particularly impressive from the outside, yet the moment you step through the doors the air is filled with the musky scent of paper, glue and leather.
Old books, new books, Japanese folklore and Grimm’s fairytales. Every children’s book imaginable is crammed into the shelves, and the miniature tables, chairs and rugs create a cozy atmosphere for the kids to sprawl and lose themselves in their books of choice.
Tucked away in the corner of the library is the storytelling room, a tiny niche that is awash with nostalgia and perhaps just a little bit of magic. The librarians’ love and passion for what they do come out when the door closes, the candle is lit, and the story begins. They weave their tales with such grace and fervor, that soon I found myself drawn into the story as if I was ten years old again.
But the library doesn’t end there. In addition to the children’s floor, the basement has research books for adults, a place that could prove an invaluable haven for many a college student. The third floor boasts a small book store and souvenirs made by the library staff.
I went into the Tokyo Children’s Library expecting a simple library, yet I came away with so much more, and I discovered a truly special place that I’ll not soon forget.