The days when the pleasure of reading a library book was tempered by the hassle of having to renew it after a fortnight or pay a fine are suddenly gone. Now, get waivers on the membership fee, find help in choosing age-appropriate books for new readers and participate in activities related to reading. Welcome to the new-age library.

As the summer vacation begins and parents seek to initiate children into reading or even browse through a few favourites themselves, neighbourhood libraries are offering a variety of new schemes to get people to read.

JustBooks, which is one of the newest community library chains, opened its first branch in the city at Indira Nagar three weeks ago. Here, members have the advantage of returning and borrowing books from any one of its 58 branches located in nine cities. Plus, it is offering a two-month fee waiver on its annual membership with no late fee charges on both monthly and annual members as far as the plan allows.

Easwari Lending Library, which usually charges 10 per cent of the cost of a book, now allows members to borrow three books at a time with no restriction on the number of days they can be kept.

All its 13 branches in the city are offering the scheme, and the three books can be borrowed at a cost of Rs.120 per month.

Online book rental service Book and Borrow promises to surprise adults with gifts if they register between April 23 and May 23, and will offer an age-appropriate book for young readers who register between April 20 and June 20.

The iloveread library is also offering discount on membership for April and May.

If discounts on the membership fee or books do not attract you, places such as Hippocampus are organising a book fair where four publishers are sure to help you select the best range of books. To celebrate World Book Day (April 23), a two-day book fair was held on April 21 and 22nd. Events related to reading promise to get children closer to books through may.

Also in the fray is the Book World Library, with five branches in the city, where one can borrow 25 books over a month (children's collection only) at a cost of Rs. 50.

Children such as Akshara T.V., going to class IX, are excited that libraries have so many offers. “I like to read action and comedy-based books and if my library can get me the best collection, nothing like having them as company for the summer,” says Akshara, who wants to read at least 50 books this vacation.

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