Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rama's Library in a Box

When we first shared pictures of the 'Library-in-a-classroom' kits which were donated to deserving organizations across the country, many people kept asking us how they could buy these kits. Rama Kumaraswamy Thoopal also commented on our album and said that she had already sent us an enquiry about the books. A few weeks later, we were thrilled to see the idea that Rama had hatched.

*drum roll please*

Rama's very own Library in a Box.


Miss V turned one and lazy mum that I am, I opted out of making it a Page 3 event. 

So unlike other well-meaning parents, I did not book the best party planner in town to orchestrate a colour-coordinated jamboree featuring trapeze artists and Dumbo the flying elephant.

Yes, I sacrificed the enviable opportunity of comparing notes with other determined momsies waggling their French manicured fingers at tots ensconced in the arms of long-suffering nannies. 

Instead, I spent the night before decorating, burnt my fingers making surprisingly decent carrot cupcakes and conjuring up a crazy rhyme time treasure hunt for Mr. V and my best buddy’s kiddies.

Heaps and heaps of time spent with my chief guest and just having the people who really count in my life made it absolutely perfect.

As did my moment of epiphany. 

I spent days of wondering if I should conduct a magic show at an orphanage, donate money yada yada …..basically do something ‘good’ to mark my baby’s first. And then it crept up to me all of a sudden and I was floored ..umm..by my own genius.
After years of struggling to think ‘out of the box’ in advertising parlance, I finally thought IN the box and it turned out to be my best idea ever! 

LIBRARY IN A BOX 
OBJECTIVE: Spread the joy of reading among kids whose parents don’t splurge on books – i.e. the help’s kids + get them books in Marathi and Hindi which they never find. Psst...anyone can do it, no biggie so just try it out in your neighborhood. It restores your faith in humanity, well at least the fact that kids do still WANT to read.

WHAT IS REQUIRED
1 One old beer carton
2 Lots of Pratham books (English, Hindi Marathi, -different grades)
3 Craft paper, gum, scissors and an old calendar
4 Spread the word amongst the maids' kids as they play cricket.
Vola! 



Mr V and moi slapdash decorating attempts but the stuff inside makes it all worthwhile! The kids absolutely loved the Pratham books I ordered. 

HOW LIBRARY IN A BOX FUNCTIONS
1 Basic record keeping of which child has taken how many books (No mention of titles).
2 Max 2 books to a child, return in mint condition and take the next two.
3 Open Wed 7 PM and Sunday 5 PM (with workshops)
4 Sunday specials - activity around books every Sunday - e.g. puppet workshop, bookmark making, art etc. 
Launched 15th Feb 2014 and as of March 5th 2014 there have been 118 check-ins and check-outs (books circulated) among 21 kids! 

EXPANDING LIBRARY IN A BOX TO TWO BOXES
1 Work in progress which sees me haunting kabadi wallas for old Magic Pots, Chandamamas and Tinkles
2 Trying to lay my mitts on old school readers etc
3 Buying new books whenever possible - e.g. Navneet publishes in Hindi and Marathi too, I have pretty much bought all of Pratham's collection (Hindi, Marathi). Within a month my book budget has crossed Rs 2000:)

My childhood ambition of owning my own bookstore or working in a library might have been at work on a subconscious level. With Library in a Box I am doing both! Hey, but Mr V loves it just as much as I do and generously offers ‘some’ of his books for the box as well. Miss V likes sitting in the box and is thrilled to see so many kids trotting in and out. Enough said!
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View more pictures of the Library in a box and the storytelling session that followed.

Thanks Rama for executing this simple and effective idea! 

Now, we wonder if many more parents and kiddos will be creating library boxes in their neighbourhood this summer (*hint hint*). Send us a mail at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org to tell us your story of spreading the joy of reading!

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