The ‘tree library’ is an initiative by the Jorhat chapter of the NGO JCI Femina to make reading interesting for kids. A student, Nisha Goala’s favourite place to read is under the ‘bhomora’ tree (Belleric myrobalan). she “plucks” out her favourite book and drowns herself into it. The library is set up at the Girls’ High School in Mariani. It has comics, novels, autobiographies and other books in Assamese, Hindi and English. NGO president Dipika Poddar said, “We took permission from the school, and hired a carpenter and used household waste material, largely containers, to make shelves. The library contains 600 books.”
JCI Femina secretary Shivani Agarwal said they spent around Rs 15,000 to set it up. The school is planning to allot a teacher for the library. Children are in love with the project. “I always love to read books on great people. The library has plenty of them,” said Nisha, a class X student of the school.
But somehow the idea is receiving criticism from environmentalists. They said that the concept is good but the trees could have been spared. Environmentalist Mridu Paban Phukon said, “They could have set it up on a bamboo or metal pole. Nails used to fix the bookshelves will have an adverse impact on the trees. They could have used rope instead of nails. Also the paints on the trees can harm the ecosystem of ants and insects.”