Imagine you are on a long road journey and forgot to carry your storybook. What a disaster that would be! Now imagine, if you happen to cross over a free roadside library where you take a book, read it during your journey and return it on your way back. Sounds super awesome, right?
The ‘Little Free Library‘ is one such nonprofit organisation that encourages reading habits and helps in community building by providing access to free books. The first free library in Mizoram has been set up by Lalhruaitluanga Chawngte, who created little bookshelves by the roadside, and is available to everyone.
Says Chawngte, the ‘Little Free Library’ has been installed “to propagate reading habits in the Mizo society.” He further adds, “We started with two little roadside libraries in Aizawl at New Market and Mission Vengthlang. Later, we opened two more at Pachhunga University College and MZU Park. We also plan to open the fifth one in front of Civil Hospital, Aizawl.”
Although anybody can borrow books, there is one basic rule, “Write your name and phone number before taking the books, so that we can evaluate how many persons have borrowed books and have returned them,” adds Chawngte. Little Library was set up as a tribute to his late father, Rev C Lianhmingthanga.
When asked from where he got the concept of ‘Little Free Library’, Chawngte tells that this concept has been prevalent in the US for around two decades. When he visited the States, he saw small roadside libraries with a couple of dictionaries and a couple of other books, which inspired him to start one here. While everyone does visit the small libraries, it is the school children, who make the majority of the readers.