It is really sad, a tragedy in fact that in India, the habit of reading is on the wane. Earlier, libraries used to dot almost locality. It used to be pleasure to go browse and smell the books, get startled seeing the silverfish in some of the old books. Libraries have shut down and most of us who read have taken to Kindle.
Thus this story from Italy struck a cord somewhere in the heart. Antonio La Cava is a retired Italian schoolteacher. Ater 42 years of teaching he felt he could do more than teach by spreading the love of reading to children. So in 2003, he bought a used Ape motorbike and modified it to create a portable library that houses 700 books. He’s been traveling in the “Bibliomotocarro” ever since.
Every single week, he travels to the villages of Italy’s southern Basilicata region, the sound of an organ announcing the Bibliomotocarro’s arrival. When they hear the song, children flock to the mobile library with an enthusiasm usually reserved for the appearance of an ice cream truck. La Cava’s 8-stop route takes him over 500 kilometers each trip, which he does entirely for free.
In an interview to an Italian newspaper last year, La Cava had said that his experience in the school system left him feeling there was a better way to teach children to love books, saying, “A disinterest in reading often starts in schools where the technique is taught, but it’s not being accompanied by love. Reading should be a pleasure, not a duty.”
Wish we have more people like La Cava in our country…..