Thiruvananthapuram

A library that reaches out to those in need

Members of the Puthuvakkal Village Library in Kulanada, Pandalam, preparing the monthly free food kits to the needy families.  

Over the decades, it has fostered a love for reading and helped people build stronger bonds through books.

But what makes it unique, among the myriad of community libraries, is the inculcation of love for fellow human beings, which takes the form of assistance to the needy.

Building on its long tradition of serving the local community, the six and half decade old Puthuvakkal Village Library in Kulanada, Pandalam has evolved itself as a charity centre that offers free food kits to the poor every month. Launched six years ago, the project is being run through a separate wing that coordinates the fund collection and distribution of these kits.

“The food kits are being distributed to 10 families every month since 2015. The practice has largely remained below the radar as we do not collect funds or sponsorships from outside including the government agencies,” said Jose K. Thomas, president of the library. The library currently has about 120 active members and about half of them are currently settled abroad.

The collective decided to form a charity fund in 2009 after some of its NRI members, who grew up hand-in hand with the 10,000 odd books here, urged its office bearers to host programmes in support of the local community. “It all began with the institution of an endowment fund for school students and over the years, the wing expanded its focus to different areas. The total assistance offered during the period is estimated to be just over ₹10 lakh,” he added.

M. Rajesh, former secretary of the library, coordinates the collection of funds from the overseas members.

P.J. Roshan, convenor of the charity wing, said the beneficiaries for the food-kit scheme were identified from locations in and around the Puthuvakkal village. The kits, worth around ₹1,000 per packet, contain essential groceries including 10 kilograms of rice, sugar, tea powder, pulses and edible oil.

“The scheme has never faced any disruptions ever since its take off, thanks to our generous members. In view of the COVID-19 situation, the scope of the initiative has now been expanded to the distribution of mobile phones and television sets to children from financially backward families to support online education,” he said.

Besides the charity initiative, the library also boasts a life skill and career guidance cell for the youngsters in the village.


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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 6:51:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/a-library-that-reaches-out-to-those-in-need/article35532595.ece

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