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Library movement by Technopark

A group of techies at Agasthya Samskarika Kendram School at Pothode in Kottoor where they set up a library

A group of techies at Agasthya Samskarika Kendram School at Pothode in Kottoor where they set up a library   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

It was a request this group of techies couldn’t ignore — setting up a library at Agasthya Samskarika Kendram School at Pothode, a tribal settlement in Kottoor in the Agasthyarkoodam hill range, over 34 kilometres away from the capital city. The challenges were many. They had to begin from scratch, right from arranging for book shelves. However, on a weekend in February this year, they reached the school navigating the rough terrain in an SUV, carrying the shelves and books. By evening the library was ready.

“It was a gratifying moment for all of us in the group. We pooled in money to buy the book shelves. It was two teachers from the region who wanted us to set up the library; they wanted to introduce the students to the world of books. We also donated two laptops for these teachers as well,” says Vivek Pillai, a volunteer of Bookathon, a community initiative of Technopark, spearheaded by two organisations on the campus, Thejus and HANDS Foundation. Since its official launch in February with the opening of a library at LP School in Chengottukonam, Bookathon is now one short of reaching the half century mark. It has donated nearly 15,000 books for libraries, most of which are in the outskirts.

Setting up libraries has now become a movement in Technopark. As of now, 45 companies are actively backing Bookathon. While some donate books, others have set up full-fledged libraries in schools. RR Donnelley, for instance, opened one for students of Little Flower LP School, Karamoodu in Vattappara.

Socially responsible

Then there are companies that are doing their bit on an individual basis, especially under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. One of them is the staff club of Flytxt that donated cupboards and books to Concordia Lutheran HSS, Peroorkada, after the school placed a request for the same.

QuEST Global team at Government UP School, Karyavattam

QuEST Global team at Government UP School, Karyavattam   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

QuEST Global, meanwhile, has supported Government UP School, Karyavattam, in setting up class libraries. The company collected story books, study materials and reference books and libraries were set up in each division from class I to VII. S Narayanan, Vice President and Center Head, QuEST Global, Trivandrum says: “Education can uplift society; every child should have access to education, including those from the disadvantaged sections.”

The libraries are not restricted to schools. Bookathon, for instance, has set up community libraries and has donated books to children’s homes, recreation clubs and orphanages. A milestone was donating 600 books to the Central Prison, Poojappura. “In fact, Bookathon was born after a group of employees set up Progressive Eco People’s Forum community library at Thenmala. I belong to Thenmala and when I mooted an idea to collect books for the area, my friends came forward and that’s how Bookathon had its unofficial launch,” says Ram Kumar, an employee with PIT Solutions.

In flood-hit areas

Another note-worthy initiative that is currently on in Technopark is ‘Donate a book, rebuild a library’ launched by Progressive Techies. It is a socio-cultural organisation of techies that is active on the IT campuses in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and Koratty. “We aim to help schools that have lost their libraries due to the recent floods. We have already placed cartons to collect books in all major buildings inside Technopark and this will be on till the end of this month,” says Muhammed Basheer, a member of the organisation and an employee of Gemini Software. They plan to collect fiction, drama, travelogues, and academic books, among others. “The campaign will start full-fledgedly by next week. We have already identified a school in Pandanad in Chengannur. This initiative is not restricted to Technopark. Anybody can contribute books for these libraries,” says Anand P of Qburst Technologies, an office-bearer of Progressive Techies.

Bookathon volunteers are also collecting books for flood-hit areas. “We are replacing books that were damaged or washed away. We are planning to work with schools in North Paravur and Chengannur areas. As for the existing libraries, we plan to keep rotating the collection in the near future,” says Sharat Krishna, a Bookathon volunteer and co-founder of HANDS Foundation.

Meanwhile, with many schools putting across requests for furniture and shelves, the techies are also trying to raise funds for the same. They are trying to get sponsorships from companies to raise money to start libraries.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2020 2:03:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/initiatives-by-technopark-to-set-up-libraries/article25121432.ece

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