Purnia district in Bihar has set a goal of being the first district to establish libraries in each panchayat. The move is aimed not just to inculcate reading habits among students but also to prevent the migration of students from rural areas to cities.
Youth and students from Purnia's rural districts have been flocking to libraries to read books and browse journals in preparation for competitive and other tests.
Purnia, a central district in Bihar's Seemanchal area, has a low literacy rate of 52.09 per cent but has transformed into a bibliophile's paradise, with 237 libraries and 230 libraries in rural areas panchayats and 7 in urban Nagar Parishad.
'Kitab - Daan' Programme
The district administration launched a district-wide programme called the "Kitab Daan" (Book donation) in January to establish libraries in each panchayat of Purnia, the first -of-its-type in the state.
District Magistrate Rahul Kumar spearheaded the efforts, collaborated with authorities from the district education department and villagers to establish libraries in every panchayat. He had realised something needed to be done to nurture rural talents during his many visits to schools in rural areas about two years ago.
"I talked to the intellectuals in this regard and decided to set up rural libraries, and on January 25, 2020, a book donation campaign was launched," said Purnia DM as reported by Hindustan Times.
Out of 230 panchayats in Purnia, 190 panchayats now have their libraries. According to Kumar, 1.26 lakh books have been received so far under the "Abhiyan Kitab-Daan."
The 24 Panchayat libraries in the Banmakhi block have the most books, 13054, followed by 12057 in the Amnaour block's 24 panchayats. He also stated that the administration is taking numerous steps to ensure the initiative's long-term viability.