“A library is not about buying shelves and putting in books. Anyone can do that! It’s about how one can put their heart and soul into it. You have to invest dil se.”
In 2015, Rituparna Neog, the first person in their village to go to college, returned from TISS Guwahati to their home in Jorhat, Assam. Having felt lonely as a queer child, Neog had always found solace, safety and joy in books. They had long-nurtured a dream to create a library space that was welcoming for all, bringing readers both young and adults, into the world of books and storytelling. The dream took the form of ‘Kitape Katha Koi’—a community library. The name literally translates to “Books Speak” or Kitabein Bolti Hain. But it is not just a library; it is a movement to make reading accessible to all.
The community in Jorhat has welcomed the initiative with open arms. Today, Neog’s library serves as a launchpad both for young, first-generation learners whose parents were pushed out of the education system as well as for adults who could not pursue their love for learning.
Taking us through their library, Neog busts several myths about reading and children. In this episode of Teacher Talks, they make a passionate case for the library as a ‘third space’ (outside of home and school) and as an educational facility for the common good.
‘Teacher Talks’ is a video series produced by The Third Eye. In its second edition, the series looks away from formal classrooms at teachers who are shaping lives in informal, rural learning centres.