Books that have been read should not be left on the rack to gather dust and decay. They should instead be shared by allowing their circulation among those who have not read them.
This was one of the messages of the two-day free distribution of over 50,000 books by the Andhra Pradesh Library Association (APLA) at Sarvottama Bhavan near Benz Circle here on Saturday and Sunday. The distribution was taken up to mark World Book Day on April 23.
“This really keeps my hope alive. There is no cause to dishearten I feel,” says Raavi Sarada, general secretary of the association and an avid reader herself.
Pointing to the steady stream of visitors who crowded the tables placed in a row with books of all genres laid on them, she says, “The best part is that the crowd comprises all age groups.
“We have young children of primary schools and a good number of senior citizens who braved the hot sun to reach this place and pick the books of their choice.”
Perturbed by the growing influence of electronic gadgets on young children seen glued to cell phones and tablets at a young age and finding no time to develop hobbies like book-reading, Ms. Sarada decided to make an attempt to attract children to books not sure if she would succeed, back in 2015.
She was pleasantly surprised to see the 6,000-odd books kept for free distribution, disappearing from the tables in a short time. Encouraged by the public response, she made the collection slightly bigger the next year and the crowd grew in proportion to it.
“Books can open up a whole new world, with better imagination and new ideas every day. There is more to books than just telling a story. Books teach children to better understand the world around them,” she says, adding that she was convinced that if given platforms like this, there was no way kids would keep away from their treasures of knowledge.
Besides distribution, she placed ‘book hundis’ at small distances with the words “Let’s Share Books, Let’s Enhance our Knowledge” written on them. The trick worked and many visitors, young and old, brought their used books and put them in the hundis, which would again form part of the circulation.
In the forenoon session, Ms. Sarada had to stand near the main entrance along with two young girls to assist her in stopping the visitors for a while as the hall inside was crammed with book-lovers merrily lapping up their enchanting gifts of this year’s Book Day.