• Harun has built four salon-based libraries in three districts
• Each library has more than 200 books
• Many people come to salons just to read books
• He wants to set up these libraries in 64 districts to increase interest in the book
One day in January this year, Harun went to a salon to get a haircut and had to wait his turn for a long time. It was then it occurred to him that many have to wait a long time in salons for their turns and they could easily pass the time reading books.
From then on, he has planned to build a salon-based library.
A banker by profession, Harun Ar Rashid from Kuliarchar upazila of Kishoreganj has translated his thought into action by setting up four salon-based libraries in three districts. As these exceptional libraries are attracting book lovers and others, Harun is dreaming of building salon-based libraries in every district of the country.
He set up the first library at Subrata Haircutting Salon in Kalakopa Bazar in the capital's Nawabganj in January. Then in February and March, he set up two more libraries at Nikhil Hair Cutting and Vijay Hair Cutting Salon at Kuliarchar Bazar in Kishoreganj. Lastly, Harun set up another library at Nakul Fashion Hair Cutting Salon in the remote Aruail Bazar of Sarail Upazila in Brahmanbaria in May.
On one side inside the salons, there are small libraries with more than 200 books by different authors from home and abroad. Many are coming to salon-based libraries with curiosity and are gaining knowledge by reading books while waiting in the salon. Salon owners have also welcomed this exceptional initiative.
Subrata Sheel, the owner of Subrata Hair Cutting Salon, said, "One day, Harun told me he would like to set up a library in my shop. I liked his initiative and made room for the library inside the shop. Now no customer has to spend idle time. They spend time reading books from the bookshelf. Besides, many come to the salon just to read books."
Harun, the second of four children of the late Asadullah and Sufia Akter, completed his BA and MA in Islamic history from Asian University of Bangladesh and is currently working as a senior centre manager at Grameen Bank in Dhaka's Nawabganj upazila.
Harun told The Business Standard, "Being encouraged by my chemistry teacher Maksudul Islam, who used to stay in a room next to mine in the college hostel, I developed a penchant for books during my college days. Maksudul sir used to give me books by different authors to read."
"After my graduation in 2007, I set up a library at my home where there are more than 2,000 books. To encourage school and college students in the village to read books, he used to go to their houses and give books for reading," he added.
Md Manusar Ali, a social worker from Sarail upazila in Brahmanbaria, said, "The salon-based library in remote areas has received a positive response among youth and literature lovers. I have seen many people going to the salon and reading books. I went to that library and read books. If this interest in reading books continues this way, the young generation will not go astray."