Arunachal, September 27: A young female Arunachali teacher from Itanagar, opened a street library to nurture the habit of reading among students. The library is accessible to the students at absolutely no cost. She gathered books that belong to her and initiated this noble cause.

During Meena, the Arunachali teacher who started the library hails from a small town called Nirujli in Arunachal Pradesh. Her father, the late Ngurang Pinch, thrived despite his poverty. He was an avid reader and an inquisitive learner. He was always reading, learning, inquiring. His resilient attitude made him an excellent orator and social worker. Talking about her father, she said, “I admired his spirit and passion. I wanted to be just like him. He introduced me to non-fiction books during my school days as he was travelling for his political work then. He was an MLA from the Doimukh constituency of the state, and this had introduced him to various books.

Meena said, “due to lockdown, students are opting for online classes and are always stuck to their smartphones for reading also. This is causing a lot of health hazards, including sleeping disorders. The habit of reading improves grammar and improves the power of imagination, which the younger generation is forgetting.” The library opens throughout the day. It has one rack loaded with books and a couple of wooden benches for the readers. The wooden benches are placed along the roadside. There are autobiographical books, scientific books and books for all age groups. Meena also permits students to borrow books from the library for a maximum of fifteen days.

Books are kept open on the streets, even at night. Regarding the fear of stealing the books, she said that people here are very honest and so far no books have been missing. She also said “I will be glad even if it’s stolen as the book will be of some purpose to the thief. What can a person do with a book other than reading? I believe, thieves don’t read and readers don’t steal.

The library is under the Arunachali Ngurang Learning Institute and is entirely funded by Ngurang Meena. She wants to extend the library into every village and town of Arunachal Pradesh, which has more wine shops than bookstores. Considering the positive effect of this street library, many volunteers have come ahead to donate books. Some have provided monetary help. Children under ten and working women are the most frequent visitors to the library. One student and a visitor to the library said that the library helps him to read knowledgeable books free of cost and he is happy about it.

Meena said, “We hope our humble initiative will encourage other youth leaders in every district to start one in their own villages to infuse a taste for reading in the people of Arunachal Pradesh.