By Arré Bench Sep. 16, 2020
Ngurang Meena has brought the concept of Little Free Libraries to Arunachal Pradesh after first spotting the concept in Mizoram. Meena’s “Self-Help Library” in Nirjuli, set up by the roadside on a few wooden planks, aims to provide access to books to those who are unable to develop a reading habit.
There are few activities as emotionally satisfying as picking up a great book and reading it cover-to-cover. In Arunachal Pradesh, a state with a literacy rate of 65.4 per cent as per the 2011 Census, a 30-year-old woman is bringing the joy of reading to those who may not otherwise have had the chance to pick up books. Ngurang Meena, who also heads an NGO, has brought the concept of Little Free Libraries (LFL) to Arunachal Pradesh after first spotting the concept in Mizoram. Meena’s “Self-Help Library” is a project that aims to provide access to books to those who are unable to develop a reading habit.
Ngurang Meena, a 30-year-old woman, set up a self-help library to help the youth in her town develop a reading habit and improve their written and verbal communication skills. She invested Rs 20,000 of her own money for the initiative.#ArunachalPradesh #Books pic.twitter.com/4xm4SPQkjE
— Ketto (@ketto) September 15, 2020
Meena’s goal is to get as many youngsters reading as she can. In the small town of Nirjuli, with a population of less than 15,000, Meena noticed that liquor stores far outnumbered bookstores in her hometown. Not wanting the next generation to fall into the trap of liquor addiction, Meena conceived of the Self-Help Library as a more welcome and beneficial distraction for the local youths as compared to drinking.
The library is the brainchild of Meena Ngurang, a teacher.#NortheastNotes
(Source: FB) pic.twitter.com/DW1IHRPjVT
— Anupam Bordoloi (@asomputra) September 7, 2020
In order to get her library up and running, Meena invested ₹20,000, spending ₹10,000 on a fresh batch of books, and ₹10,000 to set up her wooden shelves. She currently has a collection of approximately 80 books, and is actively looking for people to donate used books to grow the library even further.
— Life Beyond Numbers (@thinkLBN) September 12, 2020
The main objective of the free library is helping unlock the potential of young students. To this end, Meena has left no stone unturned, even offering chocolates as a treat for any child that comes and spends time at the library. In a first-person article about her reasons for opening the library, Meena quotes former US President Barack Obama, “Reading is the gateway skill that makes all other learning possible.”
— Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty (@sangbarooahpish) September 11, 2020
Meena ends with a request for those passing through Nirjuli to stop by her library and donate a few more books.