Free bookstore in Hanoi's Dong Da district (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - To nurture her hobby and spread the love for books to every voracious reader, a retired lecturer has created a free bookstore in Hanoi’s Dong Da district. In the digital era where reading culture is threatened by newer forms of communication, her bookstore shines like a gem.

At 74, Mrs. Pham Thi Huyen Dung could have chosen to retire and enjoy her days, yet she decided to pursuit her hobby: opening a free bookstore.

Ensconced in a corner next to Dong Da Hill in Dong Da district, her little bookshelf has grown, boasting an impressive 10,000 book titles and attracting lots of readers.
Different kinds of books in the bookstore (Photo: VNA)

“This is a beautiful and generous act by Mrs Dung that needs preserving,” said Nguyen Cong Tien, a freequent reader at the bookstore. “I hope that the local authority will contribute to further develop this free bookstore,” Tien said.

Most of the books are purchased by Mrs Dung, while some are gifted by other readers. Besides books, the readers even donate umbrellas, chairs and bookshelves to make the reading experience as comfortable as possible.

At the bookstore, readers can enjoy a good book and even sometimes have a chat about the books.
Student Le Cong Thanh (Photo: VNA)

Student Le Cong Thanh, who is also a frequent reader, said: “The free bookstore is a great place for young people to catch a break from all electronic devices and enjoy good books.”

University students, as well as neighbours, often lend Mrs Huyen Dung a helping hand with reorganising the bookshelf. 

“I am glad that my bookstore has become a place for book lovers. I hope that more free bookstores will be opened in other places to nurture reading culture,” Dung said, adding that investing time in reading is the best way to uphold the country’s traditional values.
Mrs. Pham Thi Huyen Dung, owner of the bookstore (right) (Photo: VNA)

A shocking statistics in 2013 showed that each Vietnamese person read only 0.8 book per year on average. Since then, concerted efforts have been made nationwide to revive reading culture.

A project submited by the Department of Library under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to develop reading culture in 2011-2020, aims to get 80% Vietnamese students and 70% of country’s pupils into the habit of reading books.

In the digital era, where reading culture is threatened by newer forms of communication, Huyen Dung’s love for books and reading rekindles the old flames of reading in people’s hearts.-VNA