As many as 20 libraries have been established for primary school students in northern Thai Nguyen and Tuyen Quang provinces at the beginning of the 2011-12 academic year.

The programme, funded by the international non-governmental organisation of Room to Read, aimed at developing children's reading skills during their first years of literacy.

Nine libraries were built in primary schools in Tuyen Quang province's Yen Son district, while the rest were built in Thai Nguyen province's Dai Tu district to serve about 8,000 students there.

More than 24,000 books will be distributed to these libraries. The organisation will continue supplying five books per student in each school for the next three years.

The schools that were chosen to participate in the programme either were functioning without a library or were using it as a multi-purpose space due to financial constraints.

David Strawbridge, the organisation's Regional Programme Manager for Southeast Asia , said that the establishment of child-friendly libraries would improve the quality of education.

" Reading skills are very important in order to be successful in school and beyond. To get good job after leaving school, it is important to be literate," Strawbridge said.

He said that together with these libraries, teachers and parents should promote good habits of reading among their kids.

"Those children who enjoy reading and read regularly will develop better literacy skills and they will become life-long learners," he said.

Nguyen Van Hung, head of the Dai Tu district People's Committee's Sub-department of Education and Training, said that most of these schools had financial difficulties in developing their own libraries. Reading rooms were usually a corner of a large room with books, which failed to attract children.

"Interesting books with colourfully decorated reading rooms will surely become a regular place for kids to play, study and practise reading," he said.

After 10 years of operation in Vietnam , the international non-profit organisation of Room to Read has built 120 schools and 467 libraries and published more than 265,000 books for children in the south. /.