Schoolkutty Kid’s Library
By Aparna Unni – THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
It may be the age of smartphones, Kindle, Google and whatnot, providing limitless sources of information and entertainment, but that’s no reason to eliminate the humble book from the life of a child. This is an opinion firmly shared by a few techies in the city who have come together to start a children’s library here.
To walk down the colourful steps to the threshold of ‘Schoolkutti.com Children’s Library’ is a walk to a literary wonderland for youngsters. At least that is what its proprietress, Seema Richard, hopes it will evolve into. Hidden away in a residential colony in Vellayambalam is the house where this software engineer grew up. And she, with the help of a couple of colleagues who wish to remain unnamed, has recently converted its ground floor into a colourful, cheery corner for young bibliophiles.
Devoted to instilling a love for reading in youngsters, the Schoolkutti.com children’s library claims to be “the first library in Thiruvananthapuram that is exclusively for children”.
Barely a month old – it was formally inaugurated on December 22 by city-based children’s writer Khyrunissa A – its tiny rooms are inhabited by well-known and well-loved characters – the famous Kirrins of Blyton’s England, the impulsive red-headed Anne Shirley, the celebrated Boy-Who-Lived, the not-so-celebrated-but equally-beloved Greg Heffley to name a few.
“This venture with the library,” says Seema, an IT professional at Technopark, “began as part of the website ‘Schoolkutti.com’ which I started with two colleagues.”
The website, which has been in existence for about a year, “provides a single platform for schools, teachers, parents and students to interact and share knowledge and information”, where news about schools, co-curricular activities, children’s events and competitions in the city are put out.
“Following this, for the past four months, we have started working on setting up a library for readers up to 17 years,” says Seema.
The library now has a collection of around 2,500 books, mostly chosen by Seema and her nine-year-old son Arjun.
“Most of the books I have selected are my favourites while growing up – almost all of the Enid Blyton series, Amar Chitra Katha and R K Narayan,” says Seema. “My son, on the other hand, has gone in for stuff like Wimpy Kid series and books by Geronimo Stilton which are popular with kids these days.”
The library also has an enviable collection of classics and works by Roald Dahl, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Rick Riordan, and comic collections like the Adventures of Tintin and Asterix and Obelix.
Seema and her friends are now working on expanding the collection of books for young adults and are also ready to accept old children’s books from willing donors, who in turn are offered special concessions in membership.
“We have several membership offers – either you make a one-time deposit and are issued books for 15 days, paying about 10 per cent of the book’s cost as reading charge. Or you will be issued books for up to six months or a year and pay for the duration of issue,” says Seema.
Apart from simply lending books, the library also hopes to become an interactive space with events like story-telling, book readings and children’s competitions in the offing. The next event coming up is a story-telling session on January 19.
The library is open from 2.30 pm to 7.30 pm on weekdays and between 10 am and 7.30 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. For more details, contact : 9847320281.