Star of Bridge Library, Inle Lake

NLR visit on December 15, 2012

We met the librarian/ musician Ai Lu.  NLR visitors: Johnny, David, John, Janet.

The library area serves many roles.  They run a school with approximately 50-80 9th-11th grade students during the summer months.  Typically they serve 30 students each month.  Al’s Mother, who is a Chemistry teacher, also does some extra tutoring of students.

The library does allow students/users to check out books; they check out 10 books each day on average. Al commented that Parents study here. Villagers (of any age) are allowed to use the school [and they typically] use the books to improve their English language skills.  The library also serves as a study hall for students attending a government-run boarding school nearby. The NLR project has provided books; Meme distributes 100 books per month to this library.  They find the books that focus on developing English language skills/ education to be the most useful.

The well-organized and neat library is located in the basement of a family home, has numerous wooden desks, concrete walls and electricity.  They have several bookshelves on the walls and also display periodicals on hanging devices made of bamboo rods.

Upstairs from the library the family operates a small shop as well as a palm leaf re-binding operation.   In the upstairs area the family has 3-4 computers with internet service, using a land-line.  In the summer months (May-June) they teach business training classes and internet basic skill development.  They allow kids to use their computers for a small fee, typically in summer and during Holiday breaks.

We asked Al about his musical interests and he told us he had a band and they had made a CD. His friends were hanging out upstairs drinking pop and smoking cigarettes and were easily convinced to play us some songs.  They sang songs about protecting Inle Lake and the environment and shared a CD with us.