UNESCO is convinced that public libraries are a tool to spread education, culture and information. The public library is indeed, at the local level, an essential instrument for on-going education, for independent decision-making and for the cultural development of individuals and social groups. It is what enables people to improve their everyday living. Its major missions are thus to welcome all people without any discrimination, to facilitate the communication of documents and information, as well as the preservation and enhancement of the local cultural heritage.
Here after you can find the full manifesto about public library written in 1994: UNESCO Public Library Manifesto, 1994; 1994
In Nepal the state of library implementation is still unsatisfactory. As the map above reveals, a lack of infrastructures can be noticed in the mid-western region of the country, where they are almost non-existent. This lack is due to limited, not to say inexistent, government investments.
According to the NCLA (Nepal community library association), Nepal hosted 1 200 libraries in 2012 for a population of almost 27 million inhabitants. In accordance with those statistics, 8000 more libraries would be required to cover the entire population.
Some international NGOs are trying to help, putting an emphasis on small school libraries or by creating information centres.
Peepal Chhaya wants to do a mixture of both. Most of the libraries, apart from those belonging to foreign missions in Nepal, suffer from an insufficient budget, due to lack of recognition in the eyes of the law. Finally, very few libraries offer renting services, which therefore means that most people are unable to benefit from them.
Community Library in Dailekh
The district of Dailekh was chosen as the location for the community library, after much research and studies. Statistics made it clear that Dailekh was a good place to start the project, with an ever growing population, more women than men, a high level of illiteracy and almost no information and educational material available.
After a lot of patience, struggle and three trips to Nepal, the library was finally established in the village called Gamaudi. We partnered with the locals, who formed a library committee for the running of the library. A librarian has been selected and hired by us to take care of it and be the mediator between books, knowledge and the villagers.
Peepal Chhaya bought 2500 books, mostly in Nepali, to build up the library’s collection.
Peepal Chhaya operates in close partnership with the library committee. This latter oversee the daily management of the library. Monthly reports are written by the librarian. Thanks to the privileged partnership with the locality represented by the management committee, this project is sustainable in the long run and is integrated into local life.