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Updated: May 22, 2014 16:52 IST

Spreading the word

PRIYADARSHINI PAITANDY
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Pushpendra Pandya
Special Arrangement Pushpendra Pandya

Pushpendra Pandya, the founder of India’s First Crowd Sourced Library talks about bringing together book lovers from many cities including Chennai

One man. A room full of books. Enthusiastic book lovers from across the country. What happens when they combine resources? India’s First Crowd Sourced Library (IFCSL) is formed. Pushpendra Pandya from Mumbai started this initiative in October last year. “I realised that words heal loneliness. There are a lot of lonely people around,” says Pandya on what made him come up with this idea. “I used to work at the Rani Baugh Zoo (Mumbai) and feed the crows, squirrel and fish.. I made friends with a few elderly gentlemen by offering them my newspaper to read. A few days later I realised they waited for more reading material from me.” That made him think of spreading the joy of reading and keeping up the real book reading experience.

“I have a love for printed words. I would spend half my salary on books during sales. I had once been refused a job as a librarian as I didn’t meet their credentials and decided to come up with something that’s not bound by qualification or any such credentials. As long as you can read, you can join us. No language barriers. I want to revive regional literature too with this platform,” adds Pandya.

So how does IFCSL work? “We collect books from people, for people. There’s a membership fee involved to cover transportation and delivery costs. Anyone who wishes to donate books can contact us.”

The library started off with around 400 books and now has 2,000 plus, all neatly stacked in Pandya’s bedroom. The number is soaring and he is is looking for space which he can transform into a library. He’s hoping the membership fee will help him rent a place. The members number around 50.

“I want to reach out to book lovers in small towns as well,” says Pandya who now works as a copywriter.

The library has branched out to Pune, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi, and Chennai, with few other cities too waking up to the concept. “We have found many people in these cities who can run the library.”

In Chennai, 27-year-old Lourde Fatima, who works for Polaris, is in the process of setting up a library here. “I saw Pandya’s tweets. I enjoy reading, also I am an introvert, so I thought this might help me connect with people,” says Fatima. She’s got 50 plus books as of now and requests interested book lovers to donate books and become members.

For details, log onto www.crowdsourcedlibrary.com

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