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Now, an online library for kids

The next time your child asks you for a new bedtime story, have no fear. Just log on to www.longlongago.in and order a new book as India gets its first exclusive online children’s library.
By Sneha Mahale | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON SEP 20, 2010 01:48 PM IST

The next time your child asks you for a new bedtime story, have no fear. Just log on to www.longlongago.in and order a new book. The website, which started in May, is India’s first exclusive online library for children up to 12 years. Members can access their complete online catalogue and get books home delivered. What’s more, they don’t charge late fees and even have an online librarian who recommends books based on the children’s age and reading preferences.

The idea came about when the website’s founders — Hariraj, Kavitha, Anand and Chitra — returned from abroad and noticed a lack of options when it came to kiddie books in comparison to what was on offer abroad. Hariraj says, “In India, libraries are quite scarce and libraries for children books are even fewer. So, when we returned to India, we started this venture.”

Longlongago.com stocks children’s books from all over the world. They try to keep books in as many languages as possible, as parents don’t usually get good books in their mother tongue in the cities they reside in. Books are categorised by key words and age, and are easy to browse online. People can help recommend good books for children.

To ensure that distance doesn’t act as a deterrent, they offer a home delivery facility and even pick up the books once you have read them. Hariraj says, “You can keep and read the books as long as you need to. We charge no late fees and there are no fines.” And are there any complaints? He says, “The one thing we hear from our members is that they would love to visit the library in person.”

In the future, to encourage reading groups of different ages to come together, the founders plan to form a big community of book clubs where children will find interesting books. They also hope that more Indian authors and publishers bring interesting titles to the market so that kids have more choices when it comes to books. Hariraj says, “We want to make our collection the biggest library for children’s books and to expand the services to other cities.”

How it works
The complete book catalogue is available on the website
Books are categorised by age and other categories
Members can queue books for their reading pleasure
Parents can choose a plan they feel suits them the best and opt for it
Members can also recommend what books should be kept or added to the existing catalogue

Popular titles
Chota Bheem books, Curious George books, Clifford books, Magic School Bus books and Lady Bird books

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