12-year old Kerala girl seeks help from PM for library

The 120-odd members of the library set up by seventh standard student Yashoda D. Shenoy are not just children, but elders including her teachers as well.

At a time when serious concerns are being raised over the erosion of reading habit among the new generations, a 12-year old girl at Kochi in Kerala has set up a library with over 3,500 books.

The 120-odd members of the library set up by seventh standard student Yashoda D. Shenoy are not just children, but elders including her teachers as well.

Having received hundreds of books as contributions from various persons, Yashoda even wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently seeking contributions to her library.

It was her vivid interest in reading right from the age of six that prompted Yashoda to start a library. "I used to accompany my elder brother Achutha to the library since I was in the third standard. Thus reading habit developed in me. Once I delayed returning a book, the library imposed fine. This made me think how people who could not afford even the meagre library fees could read," Yashoda told DH.

Yashoda shared her desire to start a free of cost library with her father, Dinesh R Shenoy, who is an artist by profession, and mother, Brahmaja. Dinesh shared it with his friends through social media. There was a very impressive response as many donated books and even book racks for the library.

On January 26 Yashoda's library started functioning at a portion of her father's art gallery on the first floor of their house at Mattancherry in Fort Kochi with around 2,500 books. Now the numbers crossed 3,500. Various categories of books in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Sanskrit and Konkani are available.

"Books are offered without collecting any fee as the prime objective of the initiative is to enable those from financially weak background to read," says Yashoda, who is studying at TD High School at Mattancherry.

On July 11, a day after her birthday, she wrote to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking support to her library. "I am expecting a positive response from the Prime Minister," said Yashoda.

The library will be open from 9 am to 7.30 pm on all days. While Yashodha plays the role of the main librarian, her family members are also helping her to run it when she goes to school.

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