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

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, Koramangala

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

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.

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