THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: On a rainy day early in May, a group of school students in a remote village of Kodankara, near Parassala, was busy setting up a playhouse using wood and tin sheets at a public place. Unmindful of the drizzle, the children arranged textbooks, magazines and newspapers and put up a board outside that read ‘Intelligence Library’.
The library does not have a door, but you may not be able to enter it. Impressed by the students’ creativity, Parassala block panchayat president VR Salooja who was passing by got off her vehicle to watch it. Incidentally, the six students and an elderly woman named Rajam supporting them were waiting for a person to inaugurate the ‘small’ venture. They requested Salooja to officially inaugurate it. For Salooja, it took some time to realise the students were indeed serious about their initiative.
The enthusiasm of Arsha, a Class VIII student, Abhina of Class VII, Nilaya Raj of Class VI, Ashique and Anjana of Class V and Ann Jessy of Class I who were behind the idea has prompted to people to invest in the library which has now more than 300 books. Many people in the locality donated their collections of short stories, novels, poetry of prominent poets in Malayalam and magazines in Malayalam and English, thanks to the Facebook post by a local social worker Abhilash V T.
For the children, it was a dream come true. The little caretakers of the library want this small unit to benefit a larger community. “We want more students to chip in. The idea of a library emerged as a fallout of lockdown boredom. Gradually, more students came forward. Thus the ‘Intelligenc Library’ became a reality,” says Arsha.
The number of readers has also increased, with more children and elderly frequenting the space. After picking the books or newspaper, they sit outside on chairs and tables donated by the people in the neighbourhood.
“Around 5 pm, the children and their parents come here and spend at least an hour in reading. At a time when the reading habit is dying down, these children made the whole village proud by encouraging other children to start the habit of reading,” says Salooja who wants to make the idea big. “I plan to present the children’s efforts before the State Library Council so as to expand,” she says.