Historic library plans to serve all

Syangja, November 4:

Laxmi Memorial Community Library (LMCL), the oldest community library in Putali Bazaar of Syangja district, is set to become a model library in the western region by providing ambulance services, hearse and an international telecentre at minimum cost to the community and free of cost to those who cannot afford it.

“The library provides services due to the sustainable project by renting out six guest rooms and a meeting room to customers, and the money garnered is used to sustain the library along with other facilities to make community life better,” said Om Prakash Sharma, secretary of the library. “The library will not only quench the thirst of knowledge but will also empower women by teaching them knitting, sewing, giving computer training and other income-generating skills in the training centres,” said Sharma.

The community collected Rs 7 lakh in order to build a four-storey building for LMCL with a motive to expand the library. Of the intended budget of Rs 35 lakh, Rural Education and Development (READ) provided Rs 15 lakh in 2003 and Rs 13 lakh were given by municipalities, district education office and district development committees to construct a concrete building for the library. The community collected money from each home by organising various dance and song programmes.

“We are providing ceramic-training to housewives who used to spend time mostly rearing children and in household chores,” said Hem Raj Aryal, chairman of the library.

The library was started by the community in 1983 with very few books. Currently, it has 6,000 books and around 200 people visit the library every day. The district has 4 campuses, 27 higher secondary schools and 100 secondary schools with a literacy rate of 73 per cent. The community provided the land in the heart of Syangja at Putalibazar so that more people could use the library. The library is now meant to cover a total of 10,000 visitors throughout the district.

Dr Allison Wren, advisory board member of Rural Education and Development (READ), inaugurating the new building on November 1 said if libraries were to look after children for even a short while then housewives could hope to spend that free time learning new things in the same venue and would be financially empowered.

Suzie Cordico, executive director, READ, USA, said that READ had provided Rs 15 lakh for books and to build a four-storey building.