To keep the youth away from visiting wine shops and rather inculcate the habit of reading, a 30-year-old Arunachal Pradesh woman has set up the first roadside library.
"I bought books of all kinds worth Rs 10,000 and spent another Rs 10,000 to make the wooden 'Self-Help Library'. I have kept 70-80 books there and the rest are in my room. I have been asking the kids to visit the library by offering them chocolates," Ngrurang Meena who hails from Arunachal Pradesh's Nirjuli town in Papum Pare district told The Times of India.
Hinting at the regressive development model being followed in the state she pointed out that there are more wine shops and bars than bookstores and libraries.
"I am the first woman from my family to pursue a higher education. As a tribal kid growing up in the border state, I had little access to books and libraries. Reading and writing were limited activities and confined only to classroom textbooks. Although we have a few government libraries in the state, my siblings and I never had the chance to visit any during our childhood," said Meena.
She said that she started the initiative so that people can be encouraged to take up similar activities in other areas of the state.
Meena shared that the idea to start the street corner library dawned on her after she saw a little post-box-like structure with books in it set up somewhere in Mizoram.
"Although my inspiration is Mizoram, I realise that Arunachal is very different. Kids have poor writing skills. I want students of Classes IX-XII to improve them by reading more," Meena said.
Meena's street library doesn't have a glass door to protect the books from theft. Anyone can visit the library and read books free of cost. As of now, the library has received books from two donors.