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Mini-library for summer in Vietnam's mountainous region

Sunday, June 23, 2019, 13:25 GMT+7
Mini-library for summer in Vietnam's mountainous region
Children read books at one of the local reading corners in Tam Quang Commune, Tuong Duong District, Nghe An Province. Photo: Doan Hoa / Tuoi Tre

A reading corner at a teacher’s house is now open free of charge to children in a highland region in Vietnam, allowing them to borrow books home or read them on site.

In Tuong Duong District, located in the north-central province Nghe An, where the poverty rate is still a major concern, students gather at the house of a kindergarten teacher to read books for free.

Ever since the summer started this month, Le Thi Thanh Thao and her husband have begun the day by organizing tables, chairs, and seats for those students coming to their house in Tam Quang Commune to read books.

From the summer last year, the couple have received over 300 book titles donated for their students to read at their mini-library in the mountainous district.

“The mini-library is constantly open during the summer,” Thao said.

"They can read the books here or they can borrow them home gratis."

Books about life skills, science, and fiction, among others are all placed neatly on a shelf on the porch of Thao’s house, where she not only helps her students choose books suitable for their age, but she also explains the points in the books that the students do not understand.

“I really advocate having free reading corners at teachers’ houses during the summer because when the children come here they not mererly get to gain new knowledge, they also spend time with their friends,” Bui Thi Loan, 34, a mother of two in Tam Quang Commune, said, adding that thanks to the mini-library she no longer has to worry about her children not having a place to spend time during the summer.  

According to Thao, unlike in the bigger cities, Vietnam's mountainous areas are still confronted with many challenges, so the students there do not get access to many books, comics, and textbooks, especially in the summer.

Children read comic books at one of the mini libraries at a teacher's house in Tam Quang Commune, Tuong Duong District, Nghe An Province. Photo: Doan Hoa / Tuoi Tre

Children read comic books at one of the mini-libraries at a teacher's house in Tam Quang Commune, Tuong Duong District, Nghe An Province. Photo: Doan Hoa / Tuoi Tre

The mini-library at Thao’s house is one of 69 free reading spots in Tuong Duong Commune that the local education bureau is currently developing in an effort to change the reading habit of the youth.

These spots are placed at teachers’ houses, schools, recreational centers, and family houses, among others, and are being managed by teachers and other school staff.

Before the summer started, the education bureau of Tuong Duong Commune launched a new project called “Library in the summer” with many small and local reading corners scattered in families, libraries at schools, and recreational centers, all administered by teachers and government staff.

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