A creative space for kids

BOOK CLUB

Five years ago, Rabani Garg had only one thing in mind – to set up a creative space for children that can fuel their imagination and potential. Reading Caterpillar, a children’s book club, which is one-of-its’s-kind in the City, is the outcome of that inspired thinking.

“Being a parent too, I felt the need to open a library for kids,” says Rabani. “I started from my house with just 200 books, which has now increased to 4,000 books,” she says. “Initially it was a very small outfit. The loyal base expanded and it gradually became popular among parents and kids.”

The thirty six-year-old might not have lakhs of books like foreign libraries, but whatever is there is a commendable collection of good books. “We have put together a collection of books that cover an interesting range and are unique in their stories, language and illustrations. Our books include bestsellers and award- winning books in the children’s category, modern classics, pictorial stories inspiring the child to observe, multilingual books (English, Spanish, French, and Hindi) and folk tales,” says Rabani.
Also, when Rabina selects books for her small library she focuses on illustrations. “You get a feel about the book through illustrations,” she says.

The library is neither a commercial enterprise nor an activity centre, it’s like a studio where children get a chance to do some creative stuff.

“According to the theme or the illustrations of the book, we carry out specific artistic activities. Each session is for an hour, starting with a settling-down period, the story time and the artistic activity. After this, the children and grown-ups have some free reading and browsing time. Books can also be borrowed,” she says.

Starting a library was her target but she did not want to make it a ‘dead space’ like any other public library. Instead, she wanted to it be an interactive zone. “Children can meet illustrators, authors and enjoy story telling session with them,” says Rabani, who also writes for a children’s magazine ‘Thinkling’.

It was easy for her to start this library “because parents were really supportive of the cause.”  There is a “very interesting group of parents who are themselves authors, publishers or illustrators who send their kids to our library. So, it becomes a tightly-knit community of people who appreciate children’s literature or are a part of it,” she says

Interestingly, when the library came into existence, it was open for just one day in a week, but now it is open for five days. The contours further expanded and incorporated children within the age group of 12 to 13. “But I am not planning to expand it further as the library is only for kids. As the year passed I have increased the age group, but now I will put a cap on it,” says Rabani.

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