Building a parallel library

By Isha Arora | Deccan Herald | November 5, 2013

C’mon, which Potterhead hasn’t been to MuggleNet,”says Rupal Bhandari, exclaiming her urge to share books in every possible way. Carving a library right from scratch, Rupal Bhandari and Vanita Ganesh, the duo from Kamla Nehru College have come a long way into enticing their peers in the world of books.

Tracing the idea back to its roots, Rupal shares, “After an hour-long lecture about literary criticism, our professor, Sanam Khanna, introduced this idea to me while we were standing in the corridor outside class. She asked if I’d want to work on something like that and now I think ‘Thank God, I said yes’.”

Brewing from that conversation, the Open Library under the KNC Book Club started taking shape in the beginning of the semester. This library comes from the basic idea of sharing what you read. Nestled under of the staircases of the college, the library has a bookshelf along with a few bulletin boards. “The bookshelf is always open, and whoever wants to borrow a book from there can just write their name on the log, and take the book with them. They can come back to return the book later, or if they want to keep the book with them, they can simply bring us another book, and enter it in the log, and leave it on the shelf,” explains Vanita, sharing the principles on which their library functions.

Finding us wondering about the concept, Rupal adds, “That’s how it works, and to be very true, we didn’t think it would work initially. But you know what, it works, and people do not steal books, and we are surprised by that too!”

On a monthly basis, the library invites Delhi-based authors for one-on-one discussion and book signings. “Sitting a few inches from an author, they get a chance to tear down their characters while the authors join in their bandwagon to understand the readers closely.

From Christie’s detective fiction to hard-core literature like Dickens and Hardy, the collection keeps on changing as per what comes in and goes out. Their basic idea is to provide an option for people to pick up as many books as they want. In the upcoming semester, they plan to give a makeover to this reading place by involving art-maniacs (the art society of KNC) and also introduce it to students from other colleges.