Kerala

Entry into the world of books

Peroor Sunil, secretary of the Konni taluk library council, along with others crossing the Achenkovil river with a bundle of books to Avanippara for setting up a library.

Peroor Sunil, secretary of the Konni taluk library council, along with others crossing the Achenkovil river with a bundle of books to Avanippara for setting up a library.

Walking past the forest pathways and an endless array of rocky hills, they made their way to the upstream of the Achencoil with book bundles in head loads.

Inside the deep forests, they united with an excited group of young forest dwellers from Avanippara—a tribal hamlet some 40 km off Konni.

Together, they arranged the books on the shelves inside a rickety Anganwadi building here in separate sequences, enthusiastic about throwing its doors open to the book-loving visitors. Days later, these volunteers once again ventured into the forests with another load of books, setting up a similar reading space at Kattathi, yet another tribal hamlet inside the forests here.

These facilities, named Kananeya and Kattathi tribal libraries, are the first ever ones set up for the Malampandarams, a nomadic community living inside the vast Sabarimala forests and who eke out a living by collecting forest produce.

“Just as you thought reading was dead, the library movement is moving to newer areas,” said Peroor Sunil, secretary of the Konni taluk library council, the agency that coordinates the establishment of both the projects. The demand for establishing community-run libraries at these hamlets, according to him, was raised by the local people during an earlier visit in connection with the inauguration of an underground power distribution project.

Of the 40 families settled at Avanippara and 25 families at Kattathi, most of the youngsters have received basic school education while a few of them have also studied up to undergraduate courses. With no access to Internet or even television, authorities expect these reading spaces to evolve as centres of community development

“Based on their demand, we submitted proposals in this regard with the Kerala State Library Council, which allotted grants of ₹50,000 each for the purchase of books along with furniture. To run the facilities, a nine-member administrative committee too has been constituted for each of these units,” he explained.

Having affiliated to the State council, these libraries are now also eligible for the annual grants and can appoint librarians with a remuneration of ₹4,000 per month. K. Radhakrishnan, Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Tribes, is slated to inaugurate these new facilities at a function to be held later this month.


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Printable version | Jun 24, 2022 11:11:00 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/entry-into-the-world-of-books/article38419884.ece