Writer Mridula Koshy and a free world of books
Books have the ability to open up worlds for readers. However, there are many who do not have access to what they want to read. The Community Library Project (TCLP) founded by Indian writer Mridula Koshy in 2015 in Delhi, therefore, is salvation for those passionate about reading but are unable to do so due to lack of resources.
An inclusive venture
With the idea to make reading democratic, TCLP opened three free libraries across Delhi-NCR. Every year, they conduct an annual fundraiser. They're back post pandemic with The Great Book Giveaway (TGBG), which is part of the Free Library Festival 2021.
The event commenced in TCLP's South Extension Library on Saturday and will end today 6pm. When we visited TGBG on Thursday, we noticed a range of books such as academic literature and picture books priced between Rs 50 and Rs 300.
TGBG had book boxes - a collection of 20 books from varied genres - divided into children and young adult categories, priced at Rs 1,000 per box. The books sold here are donated by people from across the city as well as many publishing houses.
A number of paintings adorned the walls of the room where the Giveaway was happening. These were created specifically for the event by the members of the libraries.
Prachi Grover, co-director and curriculum coordinator of TCLP, mentioned that 15 of the artworks had already been sold. The funds raised at this event will be used to buy books for the three libraries - Khirki Extension, South Extension, and Sikandarpur - under TCLP.
For one and all
"We strongly believe that everyone has a right to read," said Grover. TCLP's free libraries are thus an extension of that very belief. Their libraries are open to anyone who is interested in reading and their members vary from children aged four to senior citizens.
Vanshika, a 13-year-old from Kotla Mubarakpur mentioned how elated she was when their South Extension branch opened in February this year. An avid reader, she said, "The best part about this library is that I get to choose any book I like. Since becoming a member, I have read so many different books that I would not have been able to otherwise."
Vanshika added that she was extremely excited about the new books the library would receive post the fundraiser. With people flocking to this event from different parts of the city throughout the week, Grover mentioned that she was quite happy with the turnout.
"Although, unlike the previous giveaways, this was a smaller event, we saw a lot of people come in during the weekend. The place was thriving then [over the last weekend]," Grover concluded.