An increasing number of initiatives across the city encourage the sharing of books.
With titles by English poet Wordsworth to theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking,everyone walked in with a book they thought was worth sharing. The beginning of Chandigarh Literary Societys (CLS) Gift a Book programme last week was a wordy affair,with noted Hindi poet Dinesh Raghuvanshi touching many hearts with the power of his verses,drawing inspiration from life. Gift a book is a programme designed to inculcate interest in books and reading and also to make books accessible to those who may not have the facility. Most of us have a large number of books we have already read and which can be shared with others. Gift a Book is an initiative to share this treasure trove with those who do not have access to literature, shares Sumita Misra,president,CLS.
CLS has identified several places where it would set up libraries,with Gift a Book desks provided at various places,where anyone can leave a book. We want people to partner in this campaign by sharing writing,and in the process get involved in our book reading sessions,author interactions and creative writing workshops, adds Misra.
Similar efforts to build a new community of readers have met with success in the city. Vinay Somani of Karmayog,a free platform for concerned citizens to voice social and civic issues,began an all-India campaign to Donate Books,Receive Books some time back. The idea is to enable any person from across the country to connect and donate books to any public library,school,college,hospital,NGO,trust and so on. The core idea is to establish local links between people and organisations. Every place needs books and everyone can pitch in, believes Somani.
Elsewhere,at Kitab Ghar,scores of children from the Bapu Dham Colony discover a new world in books. It is a library founded by city-based NGO Yuvsatta where children are provided with story books,comics,books on basic science,computers and spoken English. All books are donated. The titles that are always in demand include the Harry Potter series that came from the British Library, says Pramod Sharma of Yuvsatta. At the ongoing Book Voyage programme,The Childrens Suitcase Library,UK,has associated with Kitab Ghar. The library received around 1,000 books donated by students from schools in the UK,with volunteer teachers of Childrens Suitcase also making a trip to Chandigarh to share their expertise with the children.
At As You Like,a new informal lending library in Sector 18,work is in progress to create a similar space. An endeavour of more than 20 serious readers and members of book clubs,the space is being done up with the personal efforts of the members. Simran,one of the core initiators,is looking forward to literary action.
Also encouraging free exchange of books,thoughts and ideas is Sukhmani Kohli,who started a book corner at Cafe Kaffee Kuchh in Sector 15. I am a hoarder when it comes to books and am a regular at the raddi shops,from where I have picked priceless books,so I share these without heartache here, says Sunil Nanda,an art teacher.