Photo Credit: Seema Richard
Author: Seema Richard
I have always been interested in books and libraries. My parents were quite encouraging and used to buy story books in Malayalam for us to read. My sister was the one who introduced me to books in English, she was a voracious reader and our house was always filled with books. We were fortunate enough to live quite close to the Public Library, which had a good collection of children’s books. One of my earliest memories is selecting colorful picture books from the lower shelves of the children’s section at the public library. It was always exciting to be able to choose any book we wanted and take it home, with our own membership card. Some books were favorites and rereading them again and again was a real pleasure.
Right from my school days, I used to wonder how nice to would be to have a library of my own. But that was a distant dream then. Serious thought was given to this only when I gathered a decent collection of books for my son. I was reading to him right from the time he was a newborn. We had a regular reading routine and I used to research a lot to choose the right books for him. Even though we were regular visitors to the Public Library and the Eloor Lending Library, I ended up buying a lot of books when I could not find them in the library shelves. Also, I could not find any place in Trivandrum offering fun activities on weekends, storytelling or reading workshops for kids. I felt that Trivandrum was lacking in two main areas – a website that acts as a complete guide to what’s happening in your city for children and of course, a good children’s library. Along with a few like minded friends, I started the website schoolkutti.com for the parents and children of Trivandrum. The next step was to set up the children’s library. We purchased popular books from Flipkart and Amazon to add to my collection, as well as from some Bangalore based stores. After about an year, we started the library with around 2500 new books in my parental home at Vellayambalam that was rented out earlier.
Today we have more than 3000 books including fiction and facts for children of all ages in our schoolkutti.com Children’s Library. Events like storytelling, personality development and poetry workshops and so on are conducted regularly with the aim of promoting a love of books, confidence and literacy skills in children.
Libraries are definitely great resource to inspire, empower and delight children. It is unfortunate that very few schools and parents actually encourage reading for pleasure. Our dream is to build an extensive collection of outstanding children’s books from around the world that can provide children an opportunity to know and appreciate diverse cultures and good literature.