I believe you still remember a ‘library is a place where you make friends with books’, a definition by virtue of which nine-year-olds recognise something they cannot define. I wasn’t even as good as a nine-year-old at this.
For me - until a year ago - libraries were assets that could only be used, borrowed from, and a place where you made friends with books, but at one point or other, the friends would leave and only the friendship remained. However, one year before this very day, my paradigm experienced a giant shift.
Our team in this week of Christmas had established a library in a remote hill of Parbat district under the administration of Jananetra Higher Secondary School and generous sponsors from various publications in the capital and the US embassy.
Although it’s been a year, the times and situations while collecting those books, assembling, cataloguing, packaging, transporting to the top of the hill, unpacking and setting them on their respective shelves still call me back - moments of joy, sorrow and eureka of achievements.
The glory emitted by the red ribbons, enthusiasm of the students, smiles on their faces, sweet poems, songs and dances they performed, especially the two boys who came running from their homes to offer us help while setting the books, and that evening’s awesome sun rays which shone against the final face of our team’s accomplishment will - no question - remain forever, too.
Those days - although I didn’t read many books - taught me a dozen lessons. An avid reader of novels already, it inclined me to reading non-fictions, too. A library started appearing like an entity by which you could teach yourself literally anything you wanted to learn.
My value for books shot through a sharp increasing curve. I laid hands upon anything I could, any papers, magazines, news and brochures, and - sounds weird I know - advertisements, too. There was some kind of art in each. Everything had a story to deliver, its own, originally unique. And with such a momentum, months changed into years.
Today I know much. Far more through all the non-fictions and underlying truths they conceal, rather than the superficial hyperbolic fancies of Dan Brown and Jeffery Archer. The library and my relation to it has bestowed me things beyond the usual ‘reading-writing tricks’ colleges teach.
Yes, maybe today I am hundreds of miles away from what we started in Parbat - it matters only a little - for an innocent girl might still be knocking on the wooden door, passionately waiting for her turn in the queue to take home yet another book. But it matters. Because today was the day their library was born. Today I can say, their library stands tall and watches children run towards her with a book in each of their hands, to wish her many many returns of the day. Happy birthday o’ library!
(Source: The Rising Nepal)