Published: 02nd July 2019
This 12-year-old in Kochi runs a free library where people return books on time. Here's why
12-year-old Yashoda D Shenoy runs a free library in Kochi. We talk to her about why she decided to start this project and where she got her books from
Did you just walk into the library in your neighbourhood, only to realise that your membership has expired? On top of this, you'd kept the copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude for a couple of days more and now you have to pay a fine. Also, it is the end of the month. The bibliophile in you would never want to be stuck in that scenario. Potentially, this is a sticky situation that a Kochiite may never be in. Well, at least not the ones who are members at Yashoda's Library in Fort Kochi.
Wondering why? This library offers memberships free of cost. You do not have to spend a penny to borrow books here. Also, there are no fines! (But please do return the books on time, she tells us with a smile). Run by Yashoda D Shenoy, a class VII student from T D High School, Mattancherry, this library has a collection of over 3,500 books in English, Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil, Sanskrit and Konkani.
What is it that prompted Yashoda to start this library? She says, "My brother used to be a member in a library. I used to go there once in a while," says Yashoda. "One day, I saw my father pay the people who run the library. I was curious," she says. That was when little Yashoda realised that one has to pay to become a member of a library. Somehow, she couldn't wrap her head around this.
Her picks: Yashoda's favourite author is Vaikkom Mohammed Basheer. Currently, she's reading his Janmadinam
For so many reasons. "I thought this was very wrong. After all, letting somebody read is a service. I wanted everyone to read, regardless of their financial background," she says. That was when she thought that she must open a free library. "My father was really excited about this. He had posted about this on his social media handle and many people across the world sent me books," she says. Poet Edasseri Govindan Nair's son had also sent his entire collection to Yashoda. Soon, the first floor of her house was transformed into the library.
Currently, the library has 110 members. That is enough to make this 12-year-old happy. "A few underprivileged students also come here regularly. My dream's coming true. Everybody is getting to read," she says.