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Celebrating books and literacy

Last week, on April 23 was World Book Day and while I believe everyday should be a book day, I don’t mind getting to celebrate a single day of books.

I grew up in a time when internet, mobile phones were not even my radar anywhere. “Googling” for information was still an alien concept and using libraries for research, learning to read maps, and knowing how to find resources through physical books was the only way to learn new concepts.

The habit of reading was instilled in me early on when my parents coaxed, insisted, made it mandatory, got me and my brother library memberships for the local library, let us pick books and enrolled us in reading workshops. A one point they even started giving incentives to me and my brother, offering to pay five rupees for every book we would read, then I think five rupees per page read, and this lasted for a summer or two but after this, they were confident and rightfully so, that the love for reading would over take our need for any incentives.

Every new city I go to, I look for the public library there and whether they lend books to visitors and short-term residents. Within the first week of moving to Burns Lake itself, I had enrolled in the local library here. Doesn’t matter the size of the library, there are so many books that are still unread, undiscovered. And the libraries and the staff at all three libraries in our region, Burns Lake, Houston and Granisle are fantastic. They are constantly striving to bring literacy to kids and adults of the region. Through their own programs and their tie-ups with local literacy groups such as Lakes Literacy, the libraries in these regions have been encouraging reading right from the young ones to the senior population.

Yes, today we live in a time when internet has so much information at our fingertips, we have e-book readers, we don’t have to even read a book anymore but can listen books as an audio-book. But the charm of holding a book and reading, the idea of reading about a world and getting lost in it, discovering it, will never get old.

What started as a journey instilled by my parents has stayed with me and I have never looked back. I have been reading ever since almost daily. Recently, I saw this passion for books in my six-year old cousin. The way she gets lost in books, shutting out the world around her is spectacular to watch. She gives me hope for the generations to come, hope for writers and publishers everywhere and hope that the world will keep evolving and expanding through the lens of books.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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