Mobile bookshops and libraries
Editor – S K Khurana Healthy reading habits go a long way in shaping the future of the nation. It not only helps in increasing language proficiency but also widens the horizon of thinking. Just like dispensaries are necessary for the physical health, venues like libraries are necessary for the mental health of individuals.
Lot of efforts are being made by our government to increase the literacy level with programmes like ‘Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan’ but reading should not be limited to just schools. There are so many books with vast range of topics to be explored. But, the problem remains as the books are not accessible in the rural areas of our country.
NGOs like ‘Room To Read’ are trying their best to bring books to children. But that’s not all. Rural population (% of total population) in India was last measured at 68.70 in 2011 by World Bank. To cater to such a huge population, the efforts need to be manifold. There are more than 3.5 million NGOs in India, which makes it one for about 400 people. If all these NGOs can include ‘promotion for reading’ a part of their programme, just think of the impact it would have on the literacy and reading level of a common man.
Besides, where book distributors and sellers cannot reach directly, book vans or mobile bookshops can help. Such vehicles can carry ocean of knowledge to far-fetched rural areas. And when we say mobile bookshops, it does not just mean books on wheels; it can be on a boat in Kerala or on a camel in Rajasthan as well. So, whatever be the possibility, books can be made available accordingly.
Similarly, mobile libraries can also be encouraged to bring books closer to the readers. This way, people can get to read a variety of books without much bothering in locating the source. Publishers can come forward and contribute to such libraries.
Let every child get his share of books!