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Library Without Librarian Helping Young Mizos to Turn a New Leaf

Library Without Librarian Helping Young Mizos to Turn a New Leaf

A group of young Mizo girls reading books books from the library.

A YMA leader in Aizawl has been helping kids and young adults to rediscover their reading talent during the pandemic-induced lockdown

A library without a librarian ! Sounds strange but true.

If the pandemic has changed the lifestyle of people around the world, so are some of the habits.

A YMA leader in Ramhlun South,a quiet corner of Aizawl, the bustling capital of Mizoram, has begun re-scripting the old habits of residents.

A YMA member keeping the books into the libraryMeet Lalhruaitluanga Chawngte, secretary of the local chapter of the Young Mizo Association(YMA), who thought of giving a hard look at some of the daily practices of people during the lockdown.

He was seized with a unique idea of beating the Covid boredom and reaching out to the children and young adults.

Chawngte took his entire stock of books out on the street and put them up in a shelf for people  to flip through, select, take home , read and return at their convenience.

Being the secretary of the local YMA, an influential NGO in Mizoram, Chawngte was driven by an urge to implement the YMA’s theme of the year little differently, rather in a meaningful way.

And the theme selected by the YMA elders this year is to promote reading and learning.

Chawngte’s idea worked wonders; young minds shortly began crowding in front of the shelves and the stock started going thin.

“ I never knew who Lewis Carroll was; I had only heard of Alice & his adventure. But for the first time, I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Chawngte quoted a young girl as saying over phone from Aizawl.

Library Without LibrarianChawngte formally kicked off his drive in early April, shortly after the countrywide lockdown began.

Taking a cue from his wonderful initiative, the local unit of YMA also launched a book distribution drive from end of May and more than 70 households in the area have so far been covered.

But what prompted Chawngte to undertake the drive ?

“Actually, my late father was an avid reader and he had quite a good collection. The idea of launching this Read-Only-and-No-Pay library struck me last November,” Chawngte told EastIndiaStory.Com over phone from Aizawl.

However, Chawngte’s busy schedule prevented him from giving it a proper shape.

“And the lockdown, believe me, gave me an opportunity to do it and I never thought twice,” the YMA leader said.

“ My desire to do something for the society and tremendous response of the children and youth saw this initiative roll out successfully,” said an elated Chawngte.

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The local YMA chapter has also come forward to boost his efforts.

In fact, YMA which has its units across localities of Aizawl, mandates a theme every year; each of its units is equipped with a library.

Mizoram, it may be mentioned , is having the second highest literacy rate in India.

“We are distributing three categories of books – English fiction, biography and autobiography. The books are written both in English and Mizo languages,” explained one of the local YMA volunteers.

Prior to distribution, volunteers reach out to people through WhatsApp to zero in on their choice of books.

And, in a fashion similar to Chawngte’s library, people drop the books back in the `return box’  or YMA volunteers show up at their houses to collect them.

Books are sanitized before their redistribution.

“ I am extremely happy to help young minds rediscover themselves during this tough time of Covid,” Chawngte’s voice exuded with confidence.

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