MUMBAI: One of the negative fallouts from the all-pervasive social media is that it has almost killed the reading habit. To revive this habit, a group of IT professionals and engineers has come together to start the ‘Let’s Read India’ movement in Maharashtra by taking their library to the people’s doorstep.
The campaign started a few months back in Maharashtra and in a short period, the group has more than 10 lakh books on a variety of subjects.
Prafulla Wankhede, one of the founders of the campaign, says it’s getting an overwhelming response.
“Our primary objective is to bring this WhatsApp and social media generation back to books. We want to rekindle the reading habit and culture among them. It will make them better educated and more civilised citizens,” he said.
Wankhede said their library van goes to remote places lacking major facilities lack.
“We want to reach out to every person who wants to read a book. We have three mobile libraries now. People can borrow books for a week for free with only one condition: the borrower should submit a 300-word review about the book to be able to take a second book,” he said.
“Otherwise, people take the book and use it to adorn a corner of their home. Our objective is to ensure people read.”
“Those who want to get books can connect through our social media site/website and app. This will enable them to know the locations of the mobile library that has GPS attached. Besides, there is a QR code for each book. The mobile library makes the weekly visit to the identified locations,” Wankhede said.
Initially, ‘Let’s Read India’ Foundation had planned to start the initiative in Maharashtra, Goa and Madhya Pradesh, the plan was shelved because of the pandemic situation.
“We are now focusing on Maharashtra. In the next two years, we will be able to connect each and every village of the state,” said Wankhede.
“Once we grow in Maharashtra, we’ll then shift our focus to the rest of the country.”
The foundation also plans to start a YouTube channel where well-known authors’ speeches, interviews and reviews will be played.
“We not only offer books, we also suggest what should be read. There are many people who are really confused about their reading choices. If they are able to read the kind of books they want, it will help them in their academic and professional life,” said Wankhede.