Nearly 200 libraries were destroyed in the floods that hit Kerala this August. As the state begins to recover and rebuild itself, librarians too are starting efforts to fill the libraries with the books they lost.
“Each of the destroyed libraries had about 12,000 to 15,000 books, we estimate a loss of around 25 lakh books,” says Adv. P Appukuttan, secretary of the Kerala State Library Council.
Librarians will take out a rally titled ‘Jagradajaada’ on November 1. Prior to that – from October 20 to 31 – library employees will collect books from every home. District library councils will collect from the houses in their respective localities.
“We are planning to have collection points in every taluk, so interested people can donate books there. We’ll also have a pusthaka vandi (book van),” adds Appukuttan.
Rallies are usually conducted every few years, when library employees take to the streets to create awareness. “This time, the rallies will focus on reviving the libraries we lost in the flood. We have about 8,000 libraries in Kerala, out of which 200 are affected. These libraries are mostly located in the flood-affected areas of Idukki, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur. There will be two rallies, both starting from Thrissur. One will be headed by the (State Library Council) president KV Kunhikrishnan and the other headed by the secretary P Appukuttan. One will go to Kasargode and the other to Thiruvananthapuram,” says KP Satheesh Kumar, development officer.
The council is hopeful that literary figures will join them in their respective localities. “We have appealed to authors, publishers, literary figures, youth and cultural organisations to help with rebuilding the libraries,” adds Appukuttan.
The council members first came up with the name ‘book bank’ for the campaign. But when a newspaper report called it ‘book challenge’, they thought it was more apt and decided to go with it. All kinds of books needed for libraries would be collected, except for those which are too torn or damaged.