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.
She is fascinated by how books influence culture and society. From time to time, she reads on a Kindle, but she is still not fully convinced to ebooks. When possible, she picks print editions and their addictive magic.
A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II
by Sonia Purnell
France was falling. Burned-out cars, once strapped high with treasured possessions, were nosed crazily into ditches. Their beloved cargoes of dolls, clocks, and mirrors lay smashed around them and along mile upon mile of unfriendly road. Their owners, young and old, sprawled across the hot dust, were groaning or already silent. Yet the hordes just kept streaming past them, a never-ending line of hunger and exhaustion too fearful to stop for days on end.
Ten million women, children, and old men were on the move, all fleeing Hitler’s tanks pouring across the border from the east and the north. Entire cities had uprooted themselves in a futile bid to escape the Nazi blitzkrieg that threatened to engulf them. The fevered talk was of German soldiers stripped to the waist in jubilation at the ease of their conquest. The air was thick with smoke and the stench of the dead. The babies had no milk, and the aged fell where they stood. The horses drawing overladen old farm carts sagged and snarled in their sweat-drenched agony. The French heat wave of May 1940 was witness to this, the largest refugee exodus of all time.
Day after day a solitary moving vehicle weaved its way through the crowd with a striking young woman at the wheel. Private Virginia Hall often ran low on fuel and medicines but still pressed on in her French army ambulance toward the advancing enemy. She persevered even when the German Stukas came screaming down to drop 110-pound bombs onto the convoys all around her, torching the cars and cratering the roads. Even when fighter planes swept over the treetops to machine-gun the ditches where women and children were trying to take cover from the carnage. Even though French soldiers were deserting their units, abandoning their weapons, and running away, some in their tanks. Even when her left hip was shot with pain from continually pressing down on the clutch with her prosthetic foot.
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