Yousuf Ali stopped his rickshaw-van by a narrow muddy road in Malirpathor village of Munshiganj, and rang the bell.
Immediately, kids rushed to the place from wherever they were, encircling the van, as if they were under its magic spell.
The van, full of books, is a mobile library, which takes them into a world yet to be seen and known.
Excited, they asked for books of their choice to read and borrow, and Yousuf was happy to oblige.
”It’s a pleasure to carry books for these kids” said Yousuf, a night guard at the village. He has been employed by the authorities of Panchashar Union Parishad to run the van, in addition to his regular duties.
UP Secretary Rezaul Karim Tuhin, who is supervising the library, said the van cost the UP Tk 38,000 and the books Tk 55,000.
He said the local district administration “has decided to introduce such mobile libraries in all the 69 unions to encourage children to read.”
The move aims at raising students’ awareness about the social ills like drug addiction, child marriage and abnormal population growth.
Sixty eight unions have already got such vans while river-surrounded Guagacchiya Union in Gazaria received a mobile-boat library.
The villages are abuzz with the sound of bells rung by those driving the vans, drawing kids to books and introducing them to a world of reading.
Sometimes, the mobile libraries are stationed at certain places from morning till afternoon.
In addition to the 69 mobile libraries, work for establishing 54 permanent libraries in different offices of the UPs and the deputy commissioner is either complete or underway, said sources.
The libraries are expected to be officially inaugurated through an event at the district’s Shilpakala Academy this afternoon.
Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Abul Kalam Azad and Bangladesh Bank’s Governor Dr Atiur Rahman are expected to attend the program.
Munshiganj’s renowned educationist Prof Shukhen Chandra Banerjee sees the step as a blessing for his district.