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Meet the 12-year-old girl who runs a free library in India

Youngest librarian in India
Yashoda D Shenoy in her free library in Kochi, India / Photo: The News Minute

India’s youngest librarian Yashoda D Shenoy strives to give free access to books to children from low-income backgrounds who would otherwise not be able to become members.

Ever since she developed a reading habit at the age of eight, Yashoda has loved books – but she had no idea about the cost one had to pay to read. “What about those who didn’t even have ten rupees with them?,” she asked in an interview with Merak Magazine.

She decided that if there were no free books so far, she had to change it and start her own library that would not overlook the poor – and asked her dad for help.

A Facebook post they made together soon went viral, and hundreds of people from all over India started donating their books. In just a month they managed to gather over 2,000 titles, making it possible for ‘Yashoda’s library’ to open on January 26.

“We began with about 2000 books, now there are more than 3500. We have separated them into fiction – stories, novels, and poems among them – and non-fiction. There are books in English, Malayalam, Konkani, Hindi, and Sanskrit,” Yashoda says.

The library is entirely free for everyone – there are no membership charges nor fines for overdue returns, but the books are generally expected to be taken out for 15 days and then brought back. For the elderly and those with physical disabilities who cannot come to the library, the books are delivered to their homes.

It is Yashoda’s dream to own a large library one day. “If you are a librarian, you’d need to retire one day. But if you own your library, you don’t need to go anywhere,” she says, with a very long-term foresight in an interview with the News Minute.

If you are a librarian, you’d need to retire one day. But if you own your library, you don’t need to go anywhere.

– Yashoda D Shenoy

Via India Today, Merak Magazine.

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