Libraries are not places with shelves full of dusty books only. Loads of play space, art material, movies and acting sessions, you get all this and more at children’s libraries in Bangalore. We visited three to find out why going to library is more fun than watching TV.
I-Cue, JPNagar, Phase II
Set up in January last year, I-Cue is the brainchild of Pramodini Prashant and Meghana Rao Simha, both avid readers. They wanted children to love reading and that’s why the main philosophy at this library is to encourage unstructured learning. “Children need to be constantly inspired. You make a child hold a book and read it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s learnt anything,” says Simha.
Story telling session at I-Cue.
The founders of I-Cue believe that children give their best to activities they enjoy. Bright walls, loads of toys—the aim is to make children enjoy their reading sessions. Prashant and Simha engage kids in story reading sessions and storytelling sessions too.
Books apart: At I-Cue a child can paint and do craftwork in the art room or just learn more in the computer room. “The idea is to create a space that doesn’t seem like a boring library. Once the kids get familiar with the space, they stroll over to the book shelves and leaf through the books on their own,” says Simha. Children can also join the book club where they can exchange notes on the books they’ve read with their peers.
Fee: Membership at I-Cue costs Rs450 per month if you take the annual subscription plan. Charges vary depending on whether you choose to borrow books, participate in activities or opt for both.
For details log on to www.i-cueindia.com or call 080-26587345.
Hippocampus was started by Umesh and Vimala Malhotra who missed a place in the city where their five-year-old son could could learn, play, read and interact with other children. “We spent a year in the US and when we came back we didn’t understand why Bangalore didn’t have a decent public library,” says Malhotra. So they started Hippocampus six years ago with the aim of making reading fun. Hippocampus has a large collection of books that children can borrow and they can also participate in various club activities. Hippocampus also helps people set up neighbourhood libraries and works with 70 government schools to set up libraries and encourage reading habits. “If we can make children read for pleasure they will voluntarily use it academically,” says Malhotra.
Books apart: Hippocampus also hosts weekend activities such as kite-flying, trekking and cycling around the neighbourhood. They have a book club, an adventure club, a cooking club, a nature club and even a journalism club.
Fee: Membership starts at Rs250 per month.
For details log on to www.thehippocampus.com or call at 080-25630206.
Booky Bob, JP Nagar
Booky Bob was set up in November by the Future Tree Learning Services which also runs four pre-schools in Bangalore called Pupil Tree. “Kids initially come in grudgingly, thinking it’s going to be boring like their school libraries but soon they pester their parents to bring them here,” says Ghazala Anjum, activity coordinator at Booky Bob. The interactive library houses at least 5,000 books and is open after school hours (4pm) and 7pm and on weekends. Memberships to Booky Bob are of two kinds—the Whiz package includes a graded reading programme (where two qualified teachers work with children on improving their language skills) and the Ace programme which includes weekend activities.
Reading room at Booky Bob.
Books Apart: The Booky Bob space has an amphitheatre where most activities take place. Activities include story telling sessions, enacting of stories, salad making sessions and several other activities. Children can also join the book club and the adventure club at Booky Bob. Weekly schedules are emailed to parents.
For details look up www.bookybob.com or call 080 40919266.