We Start The Day Global today with a look at floating libraries in Scandinavia and a free public library in India where the librarian is still at school.
Twelve year old Yashoda D Shenov has a unique claim to fame – she runs her own free-to-use public library.
Taking up the top floor of her parents’ house in Kochi, the library, says Yashoda,
is open every day, from 9 am to 7 pm. When I go to school, my mom or dad or brother is there.
The idea came about when Yashoda saw her father,
pay money when a library book was due. When I asked him about it, he said no book came free. I wondered then how people without money would read. What about those who didn’t even have ten rupees with them?
Yashoda decided it would be great to make books available for free. Her father posted on Facebook about the idea, and books began rolling in.
We began with about 2000 books, now there are more than 3500. We have separated them into fiction – stories, novels and poems among them – and non-fiction. There are books in English, Malayalam, Konkani, Hindi and Sanskrit.
There is no fine but a book is to be taken out for 15 days and then brought back. For the unwell and the aged who cannot come to the library, we deliver the books they want at home if we have it in the library.
For images, check out the OP at The News Minute.
From India to Sweden, where one might think access to books was not a problem, given the high literacy rates in the country. But not everyone lives near a bookstore or library. And for residents of Sweden’s many islands books are even more of a challenge.
Yes, digital would help, but not all books are digitised, and not everyone wants to read digitally. Printed books have a charm all of their own, and everyone should have the option to read in whatever format they prefer.
That’s where the bokbåten comes in. Twice a year the floating library,
brings thousands of books to people on dozens of remote islands in the Stockholm archipelago. Every spring and fall since 1953, the Stockholm Library Service rents a boat for a week (and) loads it full of books.
In Norway a similar service operates with Bokbåten Epos plying the Norwegian islands.
Perhaps unsurprisingly in the digital era, it becomes increasingly hard to justify the costs of running a service like this, and the future of the bookboats is uncertain.
Sometime in the next decade it’s more than likely the Swedish and Norwegian bookboats will share the fate of their Finnish counterpart, which, with bitter irony, had its funding cut to help pay for the $11 million flagship bricks & mortar library in Helsinki.
Read more about the Norwegian bookboat here.
Read more about the Swedish bookboat here.
Read more about the new Helsinki library here.