Arunachal: Youths throng smart library striving to revive reading habit

Miao (Arunachal Pradesh): The NALC is the brainchild of Changlang DC Sunny K Singh, who feels the whole the idea is to provide an impetus to the dying reading habit among the youths

BY | Sunday, 16 April, 2023
Representational image (Credit: Alexander Wende)

For Kago Pulo, Ansh Jaiswal and their friends, reading has never been more fun, as children and young adults throng a new smart library in Arunachal Pradesh’s Miao, which boasts of a tastefully decorated space with a host of extra-curricular activities.

The New Age Learning Centre (NALC), which started in May last year, is frequented by youths in the age group of 8-22 years, who look forward to getting access to a wide variety of books and fun activities every time they visit the library.

The NALC is the brainchild of Changlang Deputy Commissioner Sunny K Singh, who feels the whole the idea is to provide an impetus to the dying reading habit among the youths, considering the fact that libraries are getting redundant in the present era of e-books.

“It’s like the essence of a library and cafe, and smart, futuristic and interactive spaces interwoven together,” Singh said.

He has recently bagged an award for NALC from the Union government under the Innovation-District category.

The air-conditioned centre, spread across 2,000 sq ft, has books of varied genres, including study materials for competitive exams.

It is designed like a reading cafe with colourful cushions, white-coloured bookshelves and well-lit walls. Laptops, tablet computers and Wi-Fi connection are also available, Singh said.

The smart library became a reality through crowd and government funding. The state’s Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein also sanctioned an amount of Rs 50 lakh for the project, Singh said.

NALC offered free membership to the first 200 children and those from economically weaker sections. For others, the lifetime membership fee is Rs 50 along with a security deposit of Rs 100.

Singh said while conducting a gap analysis in the education sector at Miao, he discovered “disturbing figures”. Not only was the pass percentage poor, there was also a problem of dropouts, too, he said.

“Despite having a large population of youths, the sub-division fails to produce doctors, engineers, lawyers and administrators. The main reason is the lack of competitive culture. Besides, competitive books are hard to come by and harder to afford. That is why NALC has kept adequate books for the benefit of the aspirants,” the DC said.

“Our idea was to create a set up where children of all age groups can get a comfortable space to study and enhance their confidence level, which is low in the sub-division due to lack of extra-curricular activities,” he said.

The inauguration of New Age Learning Centre (NALC) at Miao, Changlang District, Arunachal Pradesh on 7 May 2022. (Credit: @LibraryAp/ Twitter)

The NALC building has four wings. In the first section, extra-curricular activities including singing, debating, yoga, guitar, painting and photography take place. Besides career counselling sessions are organised every Saturday and Sunday, Singh said.

“A local NGO invites resource persons to impart training in extra-curricular activities in the evening session. We also teach the children how to give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) besides knowledge on life-saving drugs and disaster drills,” he said.

Download Nagaland Tribune app on Google Play

A smart TV has been installed for documentaries and motivational film screenings, and sporting and national events.

The third section of the building is for students preparing for competitive exams, with “10 sound-proof cabins”, the DC said.

The maintenance cost and salary of staff are borne by Oil India Ltd.

“It’s an all-new experience for me. I never imagined a library can provide so many facilities. Reading is something I most look forward to now,” said Ryang, a regular visitor to NALC.

Sing said plans are afoot to install a room theatre with virtual reality headsets.

“We are also starting an NALC at Changlang, the district headquarters and planning such centres in other sub-divisions of the district in the existing libraries,” he added.

By Utpal Boruah

You cannot copy content of this page