|The entrance to the "cultural staircase"
In contrast with the hustle and bustle of city life on the street, the “cultural staircase” in apartment A3 is a place to slow down and feel peace. A local said, "This cultural space encourages us to read." Another added, "This is a place for us to meet and share. It adds another dimension to our spiritual life."
Local people guard and clean the library themselves. They donate and categorize the books in classic, fiction, non-fiction, history, medical issues, science, law, memoir, among others, as well as newspapers and documents. They also set rules for reading on the spot and borrowing the books.
|Regulations at the "cultural staircase"
The “cultural staircase” made its debut in September, 1999. Doan Chuong, a resident and also a skilled carpenter, built furniture himself while others mobilized donations of books and newspapers. Gradually, it evolved into a mini library.
Doan Chuong recalled: “One day we gathered here and wondered what we could do in this spacious area. One suggested reading newspapers because it helps to acquire knowledge and stay updated with what is happening around Vietnam and the world. It was a great idea. Since then, people living in this apartment came here to read every day. Later, people in other apartments came, too.”
It has been 20 years ever since and the “cultural staircase” still sticks to its original purpose. Resident Nguyen Van Duy told VOV, “People donate all types of newspapers they have. The party secretary of the residential area donated his ‘People” newspaper while the chief manager donated his ‘New Ha Noi newspaper. We read and we talk here. People also share their medicinal therapy using hand-written notes.”
The information and technology boom has made access to information easier than ever before. But A3 apartment residents, especially the elderly, are still keen on reading. The “cultural staircase” welcomes 20 arrivals each day.
|Local residents donate books to the "cultural staircase".
Librarian Do Trung Minh said, “This ‘cultural staircase’ has promoted our reading habits. Other nearby apartments also dedicate their special spaces for reading books and newspapers.”
Indeed, 176 spaces under apartment buildings in Nghia Tan ward, Cau Giay district, have sought permission to become a “cultural staircase”.