With The Community Library Project, Gurgaon now has a library that’s free for all
A library that is free for all, The Community Library Project at Sikanderpur, Gurgaon, is every book lover’s dream. Started with the aim of getting more and more people to read books, it is stocked with children’s books and fiction novels for adults. Running at NGO Agrasar learning centre, this library is open on all weekdays, from 10am to 5pm.
Co-founder Mridula Koshy says, “It matters for everybody to be able to read. We are trying to make a change by demonstrating how doable and necessary this is. A lot of people have come together and joined Michael and me in our initiative (that saw a humble start with read aloud sessions at Deepalaya School, Sheikh Sarai). We are trying to run a library that will serve the people and one that advances the idea of how necessary is it to have libraries,” says Koshy.
“This library runs on love and respect. We are a low-cost, volunteer driven, citizen initiative. Our objective is to bring the joy of reading to first generation learners, to those who have no access to books. Hence, our libraries are based in urban villages,” says Shubha, a staff member, who also teaches kids at the library.
Seema Poddar, who volunteers thrice a week, says, “I’ve been taking lessons in art and craft. We recently made rakhis, and idols of Lord Ganesha.” Another volunteer, Veena Padmanabhan adds, “We have collected toys to organise engaging activities for kids. Anyone who loves books and children is welcome to volunteer with us.”
Apart from issuing books, members and volunteers also hold read-aloud sessions and honour roll programmes where a child is rewarded for completing ten books. They maintain a database on how many books a child has read. “The children learn to critically think during the Read Aloud sessions. When we read a story, we often pause and ask, ‘Why do you think this has happened’. The more one reads, the more they are able to think. And, thinking has no boundaries,” says Sumit Parewa.
What’s next on their mind? Workshops and programmes for kids, to encourage learning through stories and games.
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