The bright room - Gradarak library opens in the remote village of Choratan

The library of the Choratan Community School was reconstructed with the support of the Izmirlian Foundation.

  • September 28, 2019
  • Mediamax
  • 14 photo(s)


It takes nearly four and a half hours to reach Choratan village in Tavush marz by bus. The cause of this celebration is a long-awaited event – the opening of the new library.

Milena and the bright room

Gradarak Educational and Cultural NGO builds modern libraries to promote interest for knowledge and learning among children. The first Gradarak (book shelf in Armenian – Mediamax) library opened in Amrakits village, the next two - in Movses and Drakhtik. 

The fourth library is in Choratan’s secondary school, and it was co-financed by Izmirlian Foundation, Teach For Armenia (TFA) and Gradarak NGO in the framework of trilateral cooperation. 

Izmirlian Foundation wanted to implement the project in a village where the school needed support the most. The working group traveled in rural Armenia and finally chose Choratan, which ticked all the boxes.

Before the ribbon is cut, students treat the guests to several musical performances. One of the young performers is 9th grade student Milena. 

She is particularly fond of horror genre, she tells us, but the old library was not an exciting place to go to for reading.

“We borrowed the books to read at home before. When I heard we’d have a Gradarak library, I was so happy! I’ve already taken several books and I spend a lot of time here. I come to the new library at every break,” she says before getting back to “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”.

New library, new books

The colorful room is filled with new books. It has everything, from fiction to encyclopedias. They come in different languages. The library offers educational games too.

Gradarak NGO co-founder Hayk Zalibekyan says they are trying to cooperate with almost every publishing house in Armenia to get discount for books.

“Schools where we work often have libraries, but children rarely use them. One of our pre-conditions is that the old books should be put aside. New books attract children, they come to see and read them, and gradually we put the old books back on the shelves, although not all of them,” he explains.

According to Hayk, Gradarak team tries to make the new library a place of recreation, a club, and does everything that is required to get children to spend as much time as possible at the library.

“All our libraries have glass doors so that as children run past them, they can see what’s inside and feel like going to that bright, exciting place,” says Hayk.

The construction of the new library in Choratan school began mid-July, 2019. The usual condition for the school is to operate the library at least every Saturday and possibly Sunday and keep the library open after classes, so anyone can access it.

A double celebration

Gradarak NGO wants to build a library in every Armenian marz. To make it a double celebration, the co-founders announced the location of the next library during the opening of the one in Choratan. The 5th Gradarak library will open in Aragatsavan village in Aragatsotn marz, selected from over 20 applicants.

“Aragatsavan is a very large community. We’ll be building the library for a school that has 450 students. There are actually two schools in the village, so we want the larger one to have the library. We hope we’ll be able to visit Aragatsavan within the next few months, and you can give the kids over there some advice,” Gradarak NGO co-founder Arusik Zeynalyan tells the children of Choratan.

The NGO will start raising funds for the 5th library in the nearest future. According to Hayk Zalibekyan, they use all means available.

Uniting dreams

Arusik Zeynalyan says that Gradarak wants to create a unique network involving all its libraries and unite children in different marzes around common ideas.

“As a Teach For Armenia fellow, I noticed that we always tell children to study so they can go discover the world, but the reality is that both children and adults often don’t know Armenia, don’t know what goes on in the neighboring village or marz.

We want to connect the marzes so that children get interested in discovering the world through learning about the homeland,” Arusik says and adds that Gradarak wants to organize trips, film screenings, public readings and other events as well.