KOCHI: The consecutive floods and global pandemic has caused plenty of changes around us. Closing of many libraries across the state was one of them. Since it is difficult for the cash-strapped government to shell out money to revive lost libraries, Kites Foundation, a non-profit organisation with over 5,000 volunteers in the state has come forward to renovate and revive libraries in the state. It also aims to build 50 libraries under its Book Farm project.
Minister for Higher Education and Social Justice R Bindu recently inaugurated the state-wide project at the Dolce Library and Reading Room at Canal base, Irinjalakuda, Thrissur. “Dolce library is the first to be upgraded under the project. Though the library had enough books, it was in a dilapidated condition. We renovated the library completely with some furniture so it can be accessed by the public,” said Ajmal Chakkarapadam, CEO of Kites Foundation.
The Book Farm project is being implemented by the Kites Foundation in association with the Library Council, NGOs and various reading clubs in the state. “Over the years, libraries that were once frequented by all book lovers have been abandoned. Our aim is to restore them to their former glory and inculcate reading habits among children and the public,” says Ajmal. The project is being executed in two phases — upgrading and renovating backward libraries affected by the pandemic and creating 50 libraries across the state in two years. “The project is being executed under the department of livelihood of the foundation. Two libraries will be set up in each district,” he said.
After building the libraries, the organisation is planning to create microlearning hubs for children. “Due to the pandemic, children were forced to stay indoors and had to abruptly shift to online education, which can be confusing. Many miss the live learning experience. Through the microlearning hubs, we plan to impart skills to the children beyond textbook knowledge. Teaching will be more like storytelling and will be handled by experts from different fields every month. A separate curriculum has already been designed for the purpose,” he shares. Libraries in each district are being given 1,000 books each too.
Libraries at a tribal settlement in Wayanad will be inaugurated soon. “Libraries are being set up and revived through crowdfunding. The idea is to give every district the tag of ‘Village of Books’, a title which has already been gained by Perumkulam in Kollam district. We are planning to extend this project to other states as well,” says Ajmal.