All of us are acquainted with round the clock food delivery service, transportation service and many other services but we rarely come across 24*7 library service, where students can sit and learn.
In a big hall, many students sit in rows partitioned by wooden planks, their heads bent over their books, some furiously making their notes. It's all calm. Pin-drop silence as in a library. And that's what it is: ‘The Student Study Hall’
Sheikh Muhammad Idrees, 28, a resident of district Kupwara has set up a library at his native place Regipora Kupwara. The library, also known as ‘Student Study Hall’ remains open all day and all night and is accessible to everyone. It has a free internet facility having inspiring internal space, comfortable sitting to support long hours of study, peaceful ambience with separate study cabins for male and female students. It has been operational for the past week now and can accommodate more than 30 people at a time.
Idrees, who holds a master's degree in science, is currently preparing to take various competitive exams. In 2019, he went to Delhi for coaching classes where he saw a totally different learning culture. “Mukherjee Nagar in Northern Delhi is a hub of UPSC and job aspirants, after every 2kms there is a library or a reading room where you can find hundreds of students with their books, notepads and pens,” said Idrees. He also said that when you study with other students in a library at ease with peace, it gives you an environment of competition and there is a different feeling associated with reading in a library.
“When I came back from Delhi, I realised how beneficial it would be for the people of Kashmir to spend a good part of the day studying in a library without any distraction. I also realised that villages in Kashmir lack such facilities which are very important as there is cutthroat competition in the jobs these days” he said. Observing the job aspirants and students in Kashmir struggle to find such spaces pushed him to come up with this initiative, so he decided to open a library in his village to promote the learning culture interestingly,” This library is very helpful and particularly popular for those who live in small homes in crowded neighbourhoods that lack the ambience to concentrate on books. Besides providing the reading space this library also provides a place for interaction with many other students who also come to study. Interaction and discussion are very important parts of the preparation. “The best thing about this library is that you know where you stand when you discuss with others, and these discussions also help build confidence,” he said.
Idrees said that in his village there is usually poor mobile internet connectivity because of which students suffer and fall behind academically, to resolve this problem he has installed wifi in the library which people can access anytime so that their studies won't get hampered. “Currently, many research scholars come to the library every day to complete their thesis and I feel cheerful that I am comforting the people of my village, this keeps me going,” he said adding that “For now, I am getting a positive user response in the library as ten to fifteen people visit the library every day, and I hope the number of users increases soon,”
He said that the goal of his initiative is to promote the learning culture among the local students and provide a multi-facility library to the youth, particularly the job aspirants. “I would like to invite all the students or job aspirants to come and grab the opportunity of reading in a library, together we can make this initiative a success,” said Idrees adding that “I want to play a part in helping people fulfil their aspirations for a bright career.”
When asked about his future plans for this, he replied “I want to provide all the necessary and basic facilities to the people, I would like to spruce up the reading room with increasing seating capacity and attempt to provide more comfort. I am thinking of installing computers in the library so that people can access the ebooks. I am also planning to keep the magazines and newspapers here so that everyone is updated with the news and current affairs. I am also aiming to open a kid’s section in the library to introduce the kids to the books and create an interest in reading them. And I am hoping to see these libraries in every village and city of Kashmir.