In a bid to spread the joy of reading among the people in their vicinity, a couple has set up a library inside their very home at a remote village in Kurigram’s Rajarhat upazila.
The library named “Granthakutir” came into being eight years ago when there were only 322 books, recalls Abu Sayeed Molla, 45, the owner.
“Now it has 1,084 books and most of our readers are students of the locality,” Sayeed told this correspondent adding that his wife Rinee Begum, 38, was the one to inspire him.
Sayeed, who works for a tea company, has been a book worm since his college days.
In the 90s, he was moved by the signature “mobile library” project of Bishwo Shahitto Kendro. Initially he used to borrow books but then started to purchase them.
Sayeed obtained his graduation degree in 1995.
After marriage in 2000, his long cherished dream of setting up a library saw the light with encouragement from his wife.
“She saw the vast collection of books in my bedroom and encouraged me to turn it into a library,” said Sayeed. “The library remains open from 3:00pm until dusk every day. There are over 100 regular readers most of whom are students. Rinee serves as the librarian.”
Sayeed and Rinee have three sons -- all school goers.
The couple buys one book every month. But the collection is not enough to meet the demand of the readers, believes Rinee.
During a recent visit to the library at Harishwar Taluk village in the upazila, this correspondent saw a wide range of books, all arranged in shelves.
Fictions, poetry, drama, children’s books, travelogues, science fictions, biographies, religious books and magazines were among them.
Some school girls were found studying there sitting on benches. They said they were not prohibited from coming there as it was a library set up inside a home.
One publisher ‘Oitijya’ donated 182 books worth Tk 35,000 to the library in September 2018, according to the couple.
Granthakutir is registered under the Department of Public Libraries.
The Liberation War Museum donated six books and 100 photographs from the compilation, “History of Liberation Struggle of Bangladesh in Pictures” in 2012.
The couple also runs different awareness campaigns on child marriage and tree plantation. Cultural programmes, drawing competitions, debates and discussions on books are also arranged for the students, they told this paper.
Miftahul Jannat, a college goer, regularly comes to Granthakutir. “Here I get to spend time in a homely atmosphere. The collection may not be outstanding but it is good enough for school kids in a remote area like this.”
Jemi Akhter, a ninth grader, said she had been coming to the library for the last two years.
“I come here to read because I do not have the financial capacity to buy books. The discussions and debates broaden my knowledge and eventually help me perform better in study.”
Sushanto Barman, a faculty member at Kurigram Government Women’s College, praised the couple over the initiative. “I visited the library two months ago and donated some books then,” he said.
“I was pleased to see that the students were reading there instead of wasting their time in other unproductive activities. The book lover couple is surely playing a part in enlightening the citizens of this country,” Sushanto added.