TIRUVANANTHAPURAM : It started as a one-man effort, the dream to build a hub of knowledge. And within months, it has snowballed into a mass movement to create libraries across the different parts of the city. ‘#bookathon smiles ahead’, an initiative by a few youngsters in the city to set up libraries and initiate the love for reading and thereby open up new frontiers of knowledge, is garnering steam. Saturday will mark a new milestone, it will be the 25th such intervention in the community by the techies as the team helps expand the library at Central Prison, Poojappura.
A total of 600 books will be donated to the library in the prison. The library which is currently being frequented by a large section of the prison inmates will see new additions of books from different genres and languages such as Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi. “We have been collecting the books for the prison library for the past two months. If more people were to donate their books, we could achieve the dream and then venture into other districts,” says Ram Thenmala who was one of the driving forces behind the setting up of the first library as part of the initiative- the PEPF Community Library in Thenmala. With the involvement of Brijesh, co-founder of Tejus and other like-minded individuals, the initiative grew onto becoming the largest ever citizen drive to create libraries in the community.
The initiative is being pioneered by the techies of NGOs Tejus and HANDS in Technopark. A total of 12,386 books have been collected till now and 10,882 books have been donated, thereby helping in the expansion and set up of 24 libraries. As many as 16 libraries have been built while they have donated books to the rest since the launch of the initiative in February.
Prisons DGP R Sreelekha is set to inaugurate the program where mentalist Aathi will be the chief guest. “A significant percentage of prison inmates make use of the library here. The move is highly encouraging as it can help in fostering the habit of reading among them. This will aid in furthering knowledge among the inmates and in their reformation,” said Prisons DIG B Pradeep.
“Books and libraries are repositories of knowledge. They can assist in bringing about major social revolution and change. The main focus is on children, they are our future and books can help mould them,” adds Ram. As part of the first phase, the team intends to mobilise 50,000 books from the community and set up 120 libraries in government schools, orphanages, and the community, says Ram. The larger aim is to spread the movement to the different districts in the state and set up libraries across the state.