I remember the excitement of the first edition of Gift a Book, Get a Friend very vividly.
When Faisal Sir told a couple of friends and me about the idea, we were beyond excited. We couldn’t wait to know more about the project and we were waiting on finalization of the school and date of visit.
Meanwhile, we spoke to our friends, family, classmates and encouraged them all to gift books of which they had multiple copies or books they had finished reading. We had collection boxes set up in the library and main corridor where students deposited brilliant books, fiction, and non-fiction alike.
The day before the visit, until the lunch break the next day, we sat in groups packing these books in colourful wrapping paper, all students bought lovely goodies from the excitement of making new friends the next day. We also decided on a few cultural programs from our end to present in the school on our arrival.
When we arrived at U. P. S. Palkulangara, there was so much excitement in the air. After the formal inauguration and handing over the boxes of books we had collected from our school, we went on to one-one handing over books, wrapped as gifts from us to them, in turn gaining a new friend, it was wonderful to see the initiative of the library come to realization. Followed by cultural programs and a lot of gift exchanges, we all remember sitting down in a group talking to the kids from the school, getting to know them, sharing our stories, even munching on bites provided to us by the school. It is such a fond memory.
Every year, when I see this initiative come to life on social media even after graduating from high school, a new school every time, it gives me immense joy. The thought of a new school every year gaining a new library and spreading the joy of reading is truly wonderful. I’ve always felt strongly about this, Library at K.V.Pattom was definitely my safe haven at school and I am lucky I was associated so closely to it.
Rakshanya Sekar (Participant, Edition 1): Winner, Australian National University – Future Research Talent Award 2019.