THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Institute of Languages, aka the Bhasha Institute, is celebrating its 50th year of birth by going mobile. The state government undertaking is set to introduce mobile bookshops in the state to cash in on the ‘everything-at-your-doorstep’ trend. Initially, the book vans will tour busy junctions and educational institutions scattered around the capital city, institute director V Karthikeyan Nair said.
"Our idea is to take our books to the reader. For example, the van will drop anchor outside, say, the University College, for a day, so that the public and students can check out the collection. The Medical College junction, East Fort and Kerala University campuses at Palayam and Kariavattom are ideal locations," he said. The institute’s book vans are expected to start rolling in Thiruvananthapuram by August.
The Bhasha Institute was established in 1968 for publishing textbooks in Malayalam for higher education and for reinventing the language to be in sync with the changing times and needs. For instance, equipping Malayalam to effectively handle the communication of modern scientific and technical knowledge.
The mobile bookshops aren’t the only projects designed by the institute to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. For the first time in its history, the institute has begun organising book fairs outside the state.
The first one, recently in Chennai, was a big success. The second exhibition will be held in Bangalore in October. At the local level, the institute is taking book exhibitions to the mofussil towns, which is also a first. This programme has already been launched in Thiruvananthapuram district with a fair in Neyyatinkara municipality.
"It was a good experience which has encouraged us to look at similar, outlying towns," Karthikeyan Nair said. The second fair in this series, an eight-day exhibition at Nedumangand, will begin on August 3. In the meantime, the institute also plans to extend the mobile bookshop scheme to other districts in future.