How a residents’ association in Kerala capital set up a library during lockdown


When the lockdown stored many indoors, members of Rajeev Nagar Resident’ Association of Government Quarters at Melarannoor in Thiruvananthapuram put their heads collectively for a artistic avocation. With authorities places of work remaining shut then, a lot of the residents lastly discovered the time to understand a long-pending dream of theirs to determine a library for the association.

One guide at a time, the residents collected, sorted and labeled the books to set up a native bibliotheque on the Residents’ Association corridor, with the library now boasting over 1,200 titles and counting. “We made the plan for such a library back in 2017 but never got around fully realising it due to busy schedules although a few books had been gathered. The lockdown gave many of us a lot of time on our hands. Also, we felt it was a good way to beat lockdown blues and try and inculcate reading habit, especially among kids residing in our area,” says Asokan Puthuppadi, a resident of Rajeev Nagar and an worker of the State Central Library in the capital metropolis, higher generally known as the Public Library.

Books organized on cabinets in the library set up at Melarannoor in Thiruvananthapuram
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Special Arrangement

 Asokan’s expertise got here in helpful but it surely was a “group effort” as different residents chipped in with dusting, archiving and even binding volumes that wanted a little bit of fixing. The modest however rising assortment has been generated mainly from voluntary contributions. “A small portion of the collection was donated by residents of Rajeev Nagar itself. However, the larger share came from donors such as friends, relatives, and well-wishers after learning about our project through word of mouth. We had also put out advertisements requesting for book donations. Most of the books came from sources within the district,” says Asokan, including that about 600 households come below the residents’ association.

The assortment consists of English fiction and literature, with notable titles resembling Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles. “Malayalam fiction, with works of stalwarts like MT (Vasudevan Nair), P Kesavadev and so on, form a big chunk of the titles. There are some Mills and Boon novels as well. Some job-seekers who have landed appointments have donated books that are preparation material for competitive exams. Then there are science books, dictionaries and even research theses and dissertations,” explains Asokan.

Asokan Puthuppadi at the library

 Ajayakumar AN, president of the association, says the library stays open on all days however at the moment capabilities solely in the night in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The timings are from about 6 pm to 8 pm. The facility is manned by our committee members who are free in the evening after work. We take take turns to be the library in-charge depending on who is available,” he says.

Lending interval for books is 15 days. Presently, borrowings are freed from price and books are issued to association members solely. Due to sensible causes of sustaining a registry, the members plan to levy a nominal membership payment to cowl upkeep price, says Ajayakumar.

Though bibilophiles, children and pensioners, have been availing themselves of the ability, the library is set to be “officially” opened by author and parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor from Delhi by way of video-conferencing app Zoom on June 19. “As libraries in the city remained out of bounds during the lockdown, our modest but useful collection has been a succour for avid readers among us,” says Raveendran R, secretary of the association, including that among the members took the initiative to go and acquire books after donors expressed curiosity to contribute to the venture.

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