In a move to inculcate the habit of reading books amongst children and diverting attention from the increased use of smartphones, a group of tribal women in Odisha's Malkangiri district have set up a roadside library.
As many as 20 women from the tribal community have opened the library near the Arts College in the district. It has been stocked with books donated by these women as well as the local residents and was inaugurated on Diwali. Reportedly, it offers only an on-the-spot reading facility and is operational from 6 am to 11 am and again from 3 pm to 9 pm.
According to the Times of India, the library model has been established based on a similar initiative in Arunachal Pradesh's Nirjuli town. The streetside library in Nirjuli was inspired by Mizoram's birdbox libraries. It is remarkable to witness unconventional ideas of travelling places and bringing together community members.
"A few years ago, we set up a library at the Malyabanta Hostel, which houses orphans of the district. The response was not very encouraging. We decided to move it out as we expect more people to spend the balmy winter evenings in the open," said Jayanti Buruda, one of the members of the group.
"Reading books builds our patience and influences us in a positive way," she added.
Bada Didi, the women-group behind the initiative, contributed money in building the library and have also set up two benches for the readers. The library is currently being managed by four girls reportedly.
Books have been donated by several people and in order to equip the library with more academic and course material, the group has also started a social media campaign.