New chapter: Visitors read books at Nắng Mai library on the opening day of the library. Photo vietnamhoinhap.vn
by Huỳnh Đức Thế and An Vũ
The rise of modern media, internet and smart devices is killing traditional forms of reading books and newspapers. However, Nguyễn Bá Nha bucked the technological trend to create a library for his community.
The 32-year-old from Sơn Nguyên Hamlet, Sơn Hòa District, the central province of Phú Yên Province is currently studying at Thái Bình Dương University in Nha Trang.
Due to his family situation, Nha had to quit school in the ninth grade and went to work far from home, in provinces like Gia Lai, Đắk Lắk and Kon Tum, as a welder.
After a long time working in Gia Lai, his family moved back to Tuy Phước District of Bình Định Province. In 2005, he worked building bridges in Nguyên Hà Village. There, he fell in love and got married to Mai Thị Huy. They collected all their savings to buy a house and some land to raise their children.
Thanks to his hard work, he got elected to the People’s Council of Sơn Nguyên Hamlet (2016-2021).
In 2014, he was chosen as one of three young people of the province to attend the national outstanding young people festival in 2014.
Though he faced financial difficulties, he always desired a university degree.
To fulfil his dream, between 2013 and 2016, he enrolled at the education centre of Sơn Hoà. In September of 2016, he was accepted into Thái Bình Dương University, and is now studying at the Cultural and Journalism faculty.
In order to pay his school fees, he took extra work as a waiter at a cafeteria and a guard in a restaurant.
Nguyễn Văn Thời, head of Nguyên Hà Hamlet, said Nha was hardworking, meticulous and eager to learn, “More importantly, he always thinks for the community,” he said.
According to associate professor Quách Đình Liên, rector of Thái Bình Dương University, though Nha is not young anymore, he always tries his best in studying, and acts as a role model for students at the university.
Honoured: Võ Thị Nguyễn Huệ (left) and Lê Thị Hồng Nguyệt (right), deputy directors of Phú Yên Province, hand a certificate of merit to Bá Nha. Photo vietnamhoinhap.vn
The idea of Nắng Mai library
Speaking at the launch of Nắng Mai library, held at his house, Nha said: “My parents were born in Bình Định Province, but they started their career in Gia Lai, where I was born. Later, my family moved to Phú Yên village in Gia Lai. As I grew up, besides class time, I worked as a shepherd at Ông Ri mountain.
“I want to do something meaningful for this land, which made me who I am today. Since then, I have had this idea of setting up a small library at home so children in the village can come and read every day.”
He asked for books from most of his acquaintances in Tuy Hoà City.
His wife, Mai Thị Huy, said Nha had the dream of establishing the family library since his first year of college in 2016, “I totally support his passion,” she said.
During his time in college, Nha shared his passion of opening a library with his teachers, and was warmly welcomed by them. After posting on Facebook, he was given a bookshelf of 600 books by Phạm Thanh Đảng, head of the Political Department at Việt Nam Naval Academy in Nha Trang City.
“It was the first time I was given so many books, I was happy and shaken at the same time. It was like a dream for me,” Nha said.
Võ Thị Nguyễn Huệ, deputy director of the province’s library, said: “We are really happy to know there is a poor family in this mountainous province who opened a library for the community. Previously, we didn’t have any kind of entertainment, but the library has started a kind of entertainment for us.”
At the opening of the library, Nha and his wife were given a certificate, two bookshelves and 100 books costing VNĐ4.5 million (US$191).
Nha’s family were also given money and furniture to make it better.
The library now contains 2,000 books.
Nguyễn Đức Thuận from Nguyên Cam Village, said he found the library helpful.
“Since Nha collected books from all places, I come here quite often. Now, he has officially brought the library to life. We don’t have to pay, as we can read here or borrow one to five books. Books here are of different topics, from law, science and technology, to entertainment and arts.”
Nguyễn Hồng Bảo Ngân, a fourth grade student of Sơn Nguyên Primary School, said: “Books here are really diversified, among them are mangas and self-help books I like best. My friends and I always come here for free books.”
According to Nguyễn Thiện Tình, head of Sơn Hoà Culture and Information Department, the opening of a private library helps build community cultural life, enhancing people’s reading culture. “We will send a librarian to help out.” VNS