OLE Nepalâ€™s team met Mr. Bhola Nath Sharma during a visit to install E-Pustakalaya at Moti Community Library in Phalebas, Parbat district, and were immediately impressed by his dedication to help uplift his community. People of Phalebas have great respect for Mr. Sharma and for his contributions towards community development. Moti Community Library, Radio Parbat, Helping Hands Health Clinic and Bhawani Bidyapith H.S. School are some of the institutions he currently heads. He is in his seventies, but that has not stopped him from working day and night on community development. During our two days’ stay at Phalebas, we found him to be busy with meetings and events all day long. We often found him suggesting villagers the different ways to make Moti Community Library a self sustainable one.
This time, Bhola Jee has initiated to establish a digital library within Moti Community Library Building. Nepal Library Foundation helped in provisioning server, desktop computers and network equipments while OLE Nepal provided the E-Pustakalaya (digital library system) replete with thousands of books, educational videos, learning software, and reference materials such as the wikipedia and dictionary. OLE Nepalâ€™s technical team of Mr. Ram Singh and Mr. Basanta Shrestha installed the digital library and gave orientation to local teachers and users on how to use this repository.
The Â team reached Phalebas after a ten-hour bus ride from Kathmandu. Moti Community Library is housed in a three-storeyed, well furnished building that stood just a few meters away from a small village house which used to be old Moti Community Library. Radio Parbat, the Health Clinic and Bhawani Bidyapith School were all within 150 meters area of the Library. The Library rents out few rooms for commercial purpose to help cover the operational costs of the Library. The building also has a Bal Bikas Room for early childhood development purposes. This room has a huge collection of toys and books, and it gives a glimpse of an expensive â€œmontessori basedâ€ schools of Kathmandu. Books and materials in the library and â€œBal Bikasâ€ were contributed by Read Nepal and Room to Read.
The Library does not have a lot of books. But it is big, spacious and very well organized. The team installed the E-Pustakalaya server in the adjoining smaller office room. But before installing the software in the newly purchased computers, the team had to assemble tables that were still in the boxes that were shipped from Kathmandu. Assembling table was something the team was not prepared for, and it took quite a bit of effort, but we had fun doing it.
After completing the installation of the digital library, the team conducted an orientation program to local people. Nearly 20 people gathered in the E-Pustakalaya room for the event. Participants included librarians, school teachers and students. One distinguished participant was a famous village boy with a voracious reading habit who was known for reading 610 books from the Library in one month. The orientation briefed about the E-Pustakalaya System, followed by detailed demonstration of several sections of E-Pustakalaya. Participants were also given brief introduction of Ubuntu/Linux System and its basic operation. E-Pustakalaya server and all the workstations were installed with Linux System. Linux System are free, stable and very less prone to computer viruses.
One of the teachers from a nearby village got really impressed by variety of contents of E-Pustakalaya and asked how much would it cost if he wanted to do the whole setup at his school. Later, Bhola Jee pointed out the benifits of digital library to the participants. He further asked us to share the success stories of digital library in other program districts. We then gave example of Pancha School in Kapilvastu about how they are taking maximum benefit of E-Pustakalaya not only to educate students but also to promote literacy amongst mothers of the children and the whole community.