Written by Morgane Soltesz Bourel
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I visited Myanmar at the end of 2017, and I visited the public library in Bagan district, placed in Nyaung-U, in Mandalay region, in central Myanmar.
Nyaun-U “village” is a town in the Bagan archeologic buddhist site, 50 km² with around 2 000 buddhist temples. The Irrawadye river flows nearby, and you can access the place by boat, car or bus.
The library is marked from the street with a sign “District public library”, and information is displayed on the entrance door. The library is small, in around 100m² on a groundfloor of a house. It is for all people, and contains newspapers, children’s books and adult’s books, around 90% is stored in locked cabinets.
People can sit at wooden tables, on a bench or on plastic armchairs. One table is the librarian’s desk. Drinking and eating in the library is allowed.
I did talk to one man on the staff, his english wasn’t very good, but he seemed to be very happy working there.
When I visited there were both some children in the library having a cold drink and teenagers talking.
Around the village you can visit the traditional Mani Sithu market on mornings. If you rent an e-bike, an electric scooter, you can go and visit the Bagan temples for the day. Have a dinner in a traditionnal Bibo restaurant or in one flat roof restaurant nearby, and make a stop at the fair-trade shop “Pomelo”.
It is possible to take a boat to go to Mandalay, the trip takes 2 days.
Myanmar is an amazing country to visit, people are so kind. Teenagers and young adults can often speak english.
I truly recommend it !