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A Sea of Libraries in Tripura

It’s a fascinating achievement, setting up 168 community libraries in a distant district of Tripura, by IAS officer Ms. Vishwasree.
Indian Masterminds Stories

Setting up libraries in the unused premises of various gram panchayats. At first, the project seemed quite daunting but it got completed in mere 25 days. This happened mainly because of the determination showed by Ms. Vishwasree B., the district collector of Tripura’s Sepahijala district. She decided it was time to set up libraries in the district, for children, students, and anyone keen on learning.

The initiative saw the completion with high community involvement. As these panchayat libraries have been started for the first time in the district, more people have started taking interest in learning.

But before we jump into the benefits of the initiative, let’s find out how did this idea struck the District Collector before its implementation.

TRANSFORMING UNUSED BUILDINGS

Sepahijala district is among the four new districts which were established in Tripura in January 2012. The development work has been the keen focus of several gram panchayats since then. While speaking to the media, Ms. Vishwasree said “During field visits in these panchayats, I noticed that many buildings and rooms have been kept vacant and were not being utilised. Due to no maintenance, they were deteriorating in dilapidated condition.”

On the other side, the Collector also had in mind to create a place where students, children, and other people can do combined studies, have discussions, and create a learning habit. This would indeed help in the overall development of the district.

Creating a habit of reading

A similar initiative was taken by civil servants in Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh where dilapidated buildings were transformed into the new temple of learning for the people.

Learning from this community-driven initiative taken by other officers, Ms. Vishwasree approached the Panchayat Secretaries of all the village councils and asked them to start renovating and transforming the unused building into panchayat libraries. The initiative was rolled out in the first week of January 2021.

FUTURE PLANS

After setting up the libraries, the district administration started by providing some books and newspapers in the initial stage. Ms. Vishwasree mentioned to the media that in the coming times’ competitive exam preparation books, biographies, and other general knowledge books would be added to the stock. She also said that the administration was also planning to add some personal computers that would help students in applying for examinations and getting additional information.

The initiative was completed on January 25 in which 168 libraries were started in 169-gram panchayats. The Collector also shared the achievement by posting a tweet. She shared, “We did it!!!  Libraries started in 168 of total 169 Gram Panchayats/Village Committees of Sipahijala district within 25 days. Proud of my amazing team.”

Now that the libraries have been set up in each panchayat, these will now be maintained by the councils.

The opening up of the libraries for the first time in these gram panchayats has created excitement among the people. From the very first day, people have started visiting the place and taking interest in reading newspapers and books kept in the libraries.


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