It usually is difficult to pass time in a local vehicle, especially if one’s route is a long one and there is no one to accompany you.
However, if you have a book and love to read, then you probably will not mind the long commute.
And here is just the vehicle for you — bus no Ba 4 Kha 136 of the Mahanagar Yatayat Pvt Ltd with its very own mobile library.
The book shelf aka the library is right behind the driver’s seat. Aayo Kitab, an initiative of Ka Baata, a mobile library project created and coordinated by Sabin Tandukar and Anupama Shree Dhamala and funded by Danish Centre for Culture and Development and Siddhartha Arts Foundation Education Initiative, aims to encourage reading and writing among young readers by providing them opportunities to read while travelling.
The mobile library, as of now, has 60 books — 59 books of various genres in the Nepali language, and one in the English language.
“We have focused mostly on Nepali books as we want to encourage young readers in Nepal to read the country’s literature and perhaps inspire them to create their own,” shares Dhamala, Co-Founder and Project Coordinator, in an email interview.
The list of the books is attached on every row of the bus. There are three volunteers travelling during the operation hours and commuters can ask them for books or can browse on the shelf themselves.
The library is open on Sunday and Monday from 6:00 am to 12 noon, as per Dhamala. “It is a pilot project and we want to gauge the audience reaction right now.
As the response has been very positive, we are working on increasing time frame of the library and opening it on more days of the week,” she informs.
There are plans to extend this service to other buses though the buses and routes aren’t confirmed yet.
Anyone travelling on the bus can benefit from the library though the targeted audience is students. “Reading here is limited to academic requirements.
There is no active culture of reading for pleasure and writing for expression. We would like people to know that reading can be for themselves, writing can be for something more than getting marks and grades, and we hope the older generation can relive their past and younger generation will appreciate their own literary heritage and develop a love for reading through this library,” Dhamala shares.
“We felt that there will be a value addition in our service and as there was a proposal for a library, we gave them the space. I feel that it also helps in developing a reading culture,” informs Santosh Khatiwada, Vice Chairman of Mahanagar Yatayat Pvt Ltd.
“There is Wifi and television on the bus but there are people who don’t use all these and this library is targeted at those people who love reading,” adds Keshav Nepal, General Secretary of Mahanagar Yatayat Pvt Ltd.