Libraries in Remote Himalayan Villages Bring Tremendous Joy to First-Time Readers
While the school bell rings in the government school in Poth village of Uttarakhand, some of the children’s eyes brighten up as they continue to sit in their class to read their favourite stories. Thanks, to the libraries that have sprung up in many remote villages of the Himalayas, children have a new found love for reading. The children who are the first generation readers of these villages sing English songs and tell bedtime stories to their parents who don’t know to read and write. Children Inculcate Reading Habits Most families in these villages are farmers or are involved in the timber trade and they don’t know to read and write. However, their children have started to read fluently thanks to the libraries that have sprouted in many places.Dhanesh Kumar, a teacher in Poth village said that 21 students are members of the library which functions out of government school. There are around 1,647 libraries in schools, some situated in remote hills to encourage the reading habit in children. Reading Interests Children often read books from the library and their interests include collection of short stories and poems in Hindi. Books help students to read and understand better and enhances their mental development. Most of the students can now read more than 60 words per minute with ease. This was not possible before, but after the inception of libraries in these villages, children are getting smarter by reading books. Setting up libraries in remote villages is a remarkable story in itself as books had to be brought on the backs of mules or porters who would trudge through dense forests to reach these remote villages. However, their efforts were well rewarded when children who earlier used to tend animals with their parents are now reading books.