Libraries in Japan are very useful that can offer you not only to borrow the books as usual but also to have a free movie night, storytelling session for children and so on. In addition, besides books, a library has various types of the daily newspaper, magazine, music CDs, DVDs, and books available in various languages if the bigger library.
Searching for the books is also easy to do by a computer in the library. If the books you want are not in the library, but in the different library within the same city, you can request them. If the books are not in the library at all, you can ask the library to purchase it too. Here is a search tool that you might be interested in checking it; http://calil.jp/#
Unique Events in the Library
1. Biblio battle session – some of my friends are used to organize “book review session” with the group, which you introduce the brief story of the book and the reason why you want to recommend it and it is common to do it as a group activity in abroad. The bible battle session could be a similar thing, but you do with the stranger in the library. It is actually fun to join and to get to know the books that you might not even think to pick it up. Furthermore, it could be an opportunity to meet and make a friend with similar interests.
2. Backyard Tour – it would offer in the bigger library that librarian takes you to the archive room and backside of the library which is usually not opened for public. It is very interesting to see how well and organized that the library keeps all books according to the order. The schedule is all up to the library, hence you can check it if the nearest one is doing this event or not. Free of charge, but the number of participants would be limited for a tour.
3. Storytelling session – This is a common event in Japanese libraries for children. Usually, volunteers read some books to children and it is about 15 to 30 minutes. The session would be divided into the age category sometime and volunteers can also sing a song before story telling. Free of charge and you can simply join them.
Is this something new? – Passbook for Books
Some libraries start introducing the “passbook for book”(読書通帳). It sounds a bit strange, but it has been developed from Yamaguchi Prefecture in order to facilitate more people to use library since 2010. It has now been widely spread to other prefectures. Basically, you can record that books you borrow in the bank style passbook including a date, author’s name, and the title. This service is simple, but effective to attract people to go to the library, especially for children.
So do you want to register yourself?
You can just join the event without registering, but if you would like to borrow the book from the library, you need to register. Bring your ID as well as the proof of address such as tenant agreement and water bills which show your name and home address. Once you register, you will probably receive a library card. Some library offers online booking and notification to your email as well. In addition, you can also check some university library. Even though you are not a student, some university library open for the public and a good thing about the university library is to get a more specific and specialized book including old references and books which are out of published.