Youth project helps to spread reading culture in community

August 29, 2018 | 02:04 pm GMT+7

Since its debut by three young people in Ho Chi Minh City in December 2016, Sach Chuyen Tay (Books in the City) has created a venue to share and lend the favourite free books in Vietnam. The project aims to help spread the reading culture and connect the reading community by locating available book sources in society.




Huynh Quang Dung (first from left) and his teammates standing in front of Sach Chuyen Tay's stall on Nguyen Van Binh Book Street, Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: Sach Chuyen Tay)

While cleaning his house, Pham Ngoc Hoang Huy, 28, found many of his old books across the corners of his room. It would have been a waste to throw the books away, Huy thought, but he didn’t know what to do with them. Huy shared his problem with his friends, Huynh Quang Dung and Loc Nguyen, and it marked the birth of Sach Chuyen Tay.
Initially, Sach Chuyen Tay was a small group where members shared their books with each other. However, the group quickly received great support from book borrowers and others who were willing to donate their books.
The project team has developed a book transfer system, making books accessible to anyone who is interested. Anyone who wants to borrow a book from Sach Chuyen Tay’s online library can submit their request by registering their information including name, phone number, email and address.
The borrower will then receive the book through the postal service for free. A reminder message will be sent to the borrower after one week to remind them to return the book.
As for readers in the cities, Sach Chuyen Tay volunteers are assigned to book drop-off/collection points daily in order to assist readers in the borrowing of books.
Manh, a youngster from the northern province of Bac Ninh, said excitedly that soon after he text a message to borrow ‘The Fountainhead’ novel on Tuesday, he received the novel on Thursday afternoon, despite the north-to-south distance from the borrower and lender. “Sach Chuyen Tay is just amazing,” he stated.
Huynh Quang Dung proudly said that, since it was launched, no book has been lost from Sach Chuyen Tay’s database. Every book sent to the borrower is always attached with a letter from the project team.
The caring act is rewarded in return many times as a lot of borrowers also sent a thank-you letter, small gifts, or even their own books to contribute to the project’s library when they return the book.
Books donated to Sach Chuyen Tay are thoroughly assessed and classified by the project team before they are labelled and uploaded onto the database.
A visitor going through the collection of books at Sach Chuyen Tay's stall on Nguyen Van Binh Book Street (Photo:
Beginning with only three members and 20 book titles, Sach Chuyen Tay is now home to more than 40 book lovers with nearly 11,000 book titles after one and a half years of operation.
So far, the project team has sent books to over 22 cities and provinces across the country. Sach Chuyen Tay’s fanpage on Facebook has attracted approximately 30,000 followers. The number of both online and offline book borrowers reaches 500 every week.
Not only being limited as a community project, Sach Chuyen Tay team is working to develop into a social enterprise, earning an income to serve the community for free.
The team is preparing a website and app where readers in the same locality can exchange books among themselves and make new friends – without needing Sach Chuyen Tay to be the intermediary.
Sach Chuyen Tay team is also setting up branches in other localities to reduce the geographic distance among borrowers.
“We will become a social enterprise in the near future, our first and foremost goal is to promote reading culture among the community, and the goal is never to be commercialised,” Hoang Manh Dung asserted, adding that the team have no need to earn much money from the project.
“I have changed a lot since I got involved to Sach Chuyen Tay,” Dung said, explaining that as an economics student, he used to evaluate how much it would cost and gain before doing any thing, but he hasn’t thought much about this by engaging in the project.