shouyu55’s blog


My Essay 1

Libraries in Canada vs Libraries in Japan 

The Public Library is a nice place to read books, study and sometimes take a break.  Book lovers can borrow any books from the library.  If the library doesn’t have a particular book you’re looking for, you can simply request it and have it sent it over from another branch.  Those who need a desk to sit and study can find that at the library.  Others come just to enjoy the air conditioning!  People who go to the library can spend as much time as they want there and it’s all free!  The library’s main service is offering materials and information that residents need.  This is more or less the same role that most libraries have around the world offer, with a little variance in each country. In this essay, I would like to compare the libraries in two countries, Canada and Japan. 

Canadian libraries are marvelous.  They are fairly big, clean, have a variety of books from new to slightly  older in several languages, and a decent amount of space, desks and sofas.  No one is left without a seat.  They also offer internet services, including free wifi and possess plenty of computers.  Nowadays, the internet is indispensable, especially for things like finding jobs, submitting important documents, sending emails, etc.  I think library services meet people’s needs perfectly.  I see people from young to old relaxing in my local library.  The downsides are that the librarians charge you when the materials you borrowed are overdue and some libraries don’t open until  noon on weekends and are closed on holidays.  I was shocked when I reached the library on a Sunday at 9 o’clock am and noticed the opening hours. 

In contrast, Japanese libraries are mostly small and old.  They don’t have enough space or chairs for everyone.  They offer some desks, however, almost all the desks are occupied immediately by opening time by students who are preparing for exams.  The books at Japanese libraries are not very new.  I guess they don’t purchase new books often and wait until someone donates them.  Half of Japanese libraries don’t offer internet.  I guess people without computers and internet services go to internet cafés. There are a few new and clean libraries in Japan, just like in Canada, but only if the municipality has enough budget for their local libraries.  The plus side is that they don’t charge you if your borrowed materials are overdue.  They only admonish you.  I think most Japanese people prefer going to a bookstore and buying their own new books.  As for me, I rarely go to Japanese libraries except to borrow some study books just for reference.  I buy reading books, such as novels, so that I don’t have to worry if I damage any of them.  Another upside is that they open early on weekends and are also open on holidays so people have more flexibility.  The libraries are usually closed on Mondays, but they are open if Monday happens to be a holiday.  I have noticed that most people who go to the library are older, middle-aged men, who go most often on the weekends and on holidays to spend time away from home. 

While writing this essay, I came to the realization that libraries reflect their national characters.  Canadians enjoy libraries a lot more than the Japanese.  They see it as a comfortable place and use it mainly on weekdays so as to spend weekends and holidays with family.  In contrast, the Japanese use it not so much for spending time there reading books but rather to borrow books.  They use the library as a place they can go to spend time on weekends and holidays, suspiciously not to spend time with family…

I still believe that the library is a good place that offers appropriate services for each nation’s needs.