Culture Culture

05/08/2019 - 08:56

Hue is going to be a ‘city of books’

That idea is being initiated by the Institute for Development Studies of Thua Thien Hue Province with the goal of making Hue one of the provinces with the highest proportion of people reading books in the country through the program "Promoting reading culture in Thua Thien Hue Province ".

Dr. Cung Trong Cuong - Director of Hue Institute for Development Studies. Photo: HUU PHUC

Having a conversation with Thua Thien Hue Weekly, Dr. Cung Trong Cuong - Director of Hue Institute for Development Studies revealed, within the framework of the program, Fanpage (a social networking site) "Hue books - Hue clean" that has just been launched received special attention of the community.

Sir, many people are curious why the fanpage has the name "Hue books - Hue clean"?

That's the message we want to send to everyone. It’s the determination to make the city we are living cleaner both physically and spiritually with books and reading habits.

Many people believe that promoting reading habits is not an easy task. Statistics show that, on average, every year, a Vietnamese person only reads less than one book. What do you think about this?

A study that we approached recently also showed that the rate of Hue people having reading habit was also very low while Hue is well-known as a cultural city. This was the motivation for us to launch the program "Promoting reading culture in Thua Thien Hue Province".

Coming to the bookstore, meeting the people who love books play an important role in forming and developing the habit of reading for everyone. Photo: PHAN THANH

What is the new way that the program “Promoting reading culture in Thua Thien Hue Province” devise to encourage more people to read?

First of all, this is a non-profit, community-based program. Hue Institute for Development Studies has the responsibility to connect and promote. Currently, we are connecting with many book-related activity groups across the country, such as the program providing books to rural areas; office bookcases; book exchange groups via Facebook ...

From single groups, when being gathered, oriented, encouraged, there will be a program for them to make thing work faster, more efficiently. The program will be based on this platform.

With such an ambitious goal to make Hue one of the provinces with the highest proportion of people reading in the country, how will the specific program be, sir?

The priorities that we aim at are students, parents and teachers. With the mindset of bringing books to readers, we will create bookshelves, book-stall streets, book (reading) communities, reading culture ... on the basis of connecting, improving the quality of existing resources from current working groups and implement appropriate initiatives.

Related activities such as organizing book contests, inviting influential people to talk about books ... will also be organized. When the awareness among these 3 groups (students - parents - teachers) changes, there will be a great impact on the community, creating a pervasive power. The promotion of social media, networking via Facebook and Twitter will be focused. This will be a great advantage to create effects and such pervasive power.

According to you, how long will it take to achieve the goal of the "Promoting reading culture in Thua Thien Hue Province" program?

The way this program is done is by "transplanting" the models. This germination would spread quickly or slowly depending on how it works and on the response of the society.

But I am very optimistic. After only one week of operation, "Hue books - Hue clean" attracted over 1,000 likes, more than 20,000 interaction sessions and nearly 200 members. That means, there are many people that are interesting in reading.

With this community project, can you share some information about the role of Institute for Development Studies of Thua Thien Hue Province?

First and foremost, we will connect existing factors in the community, then ask for engagement of departments and agencies. Under the direction of the provincial People's Committee, in September, the Institute will co-organize conferences on innovative education, discussing on bringing cultural values, experiences and physical education into schools, in which reading habits are included.

We have also connected with publishers, companies, businesses ... A celebrity’s talk about books at the end of this July has been planned.

The first boxes of donated books have also been being delivered. And if this is done well, with only one book donated per person, with about 400,000 people in Hue city, there would be a valuable source of books.

Resources from the community are huge. The remaining issue is how to do it. We must create inspiration, resonance and the spread of it. This would not cost a lot of money from the budget; however, the program certainly requires enthusiasm, perseverance and time.

Free books inside the trunk of trees

The free "Book Nooks" is placed in an old tree hole to encourage reading habits and protecting trees and environment in the United States. Photo: PQV

On the "Hue books - Hue clean" program, Mr. Phan Quoc Vinh, a member of the program "Promoting reading culture in Thua Thien Hue Province" shared, in the US - where he is living - there are many bookcases in the trunk holes (Book Nooks) that contain free books for people to exchange books themselves. According to Mr. Vinh, 10 years ago, in Hue, DMZ bar had a self-exchange bookcase (book exchange) - where visitors can exchange books (take 1 book and put 1 back).

 “I do hope that Hue city will have many public bookshelves at restaurants, bars, hotels, companies, bus stations ... Without surveillance cameras, people will voluntarily take a book to read and replace it with another book. Soon after, there will be many "plus" points gained from tourists when they come to see Hue ancient capital, a place that are filled with lots of books", Mr. Vinh shared his idea.

By Kim Oanh

 

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