A unique library at the Yellow Train School

An early morning start is no deterrent  

Over a thousand people gathered at Cosmo Club, Race Course, wearing their marathon bibs on Sunday. Children, parents and even grandparents huddled together talking about being a gold runner, a yellow runner .... A ticker board hung on a tree read 16,500. There was palpable excitement in the air as they began to sing, “Open a book and you will find people and places of every kind…”

Yellow Train School’s Fill the Bogie campaign was ready to flag off the 5K and 2K runs at 5.30 and 6.00 am. “There is no competition. We don’t care to finish first. We are all running to celebrate our bogie filling with books,” say a group of Grade 8 girls.

The school started the campaign across the globe and received books from many countries. In Coimbatore, they reached out to people through their parents to register for a marathon with a minimum of five books. People pooled in books from friends and family and brought as many as they could to fill this one-of-a-kind library, which is houses in a real train bogie. “My brother, sister and I went from home to home in my neighbourhood and collected 300 books, ” said11-year-old Keshav Sriram.

The whole running track was filled with cheers, slogans and jingles. The children had so much to say as did the parents. “My son came home saying there was going to be a library in a train just like it is in Totto Chan: A Little Girl by the Window. It is so inspiring to see the school recreating a scene from a book, making a fantasy come true,” says Bindhu Lakshmi.

Run for a book Students are happy to have collected a large number of books

Run for a book Students are happy to have collected a large number of books  

At the marathon, the youngest runners were just three years. They wore their bibs and ran for a bit. Then their parents picked them up and finished the run. “This is so exciting for us. We wanted to be a part of this wonderful idea,” said Sindhya Karthik. She is happy that her little son will have a special library to visit. “Will we see the train full of books when we finish running?” asked the little one.

Mayura Muralidharan, co-ordinator of the school, said, “A train that took people from Jolarpettai to Erode, Tiruchi, Mayiladudhurai and Thanjavur is retiring after 25 years and will now carry the laughter of children. We would like to invite book lovers to join us on December 21 as we wait for the bogie to arrive through the village roads and cornfields into our campus to become a library.” The children have planned midnight markets and entertainment, as they wait for the arrival of their bogie.

Santhya Vikram, Director of Yellow Train, describes this as a dream come true. “This will be a very special morning for our children, memories of which will be lived again and again in their telling and retelling to their children and grandchildren — of how a bogie came to their school one morning and became a library.”

92410 is not just a number any more. It is the number of the bogie that will soon become Coimbatore’s special library.

The trolleys that carried fruits and veggies now carry books

The trolleys that carried fruits and veggies now carry books  

16,500 and counting…

The school collected 16,500 books for the library from Coimbatore through registrations for the run. From classics like Charles Dickens through children’s writers like Enid Blyton and contemporary authors like Rick Riordon and Veronica Roth, all kinds of books made an appearance. Some donated books for children by Indian authors from independent publishing houses and donated new copies.

“I gave 38 of my most treasured books for the library as I wanted children and others to benefit from my collection,” says Karuna Guruprasad, a parent.

On the day of the book deposit, the school had organised pushcarts from Pazhamudhir Nilayam and volunteers were stationed everywhere. People came with suitcases, cartons and boxes and loaded the trolleys with books. Every thousand was announced with great fanfare by the cheerleading team.

How reassuring to know that books mattered to people at least in this corner of the world!

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 11:07:50 PM |

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