Libraries and books are an integral part of modern society, but with a regular Joe’s life being so busy, many a people aren’t into reading books specially the hard copy ones, the ones you can sit on your knee and flick pages over, put a bookmark until you pick it up again . Even though a fair few cities have libraries around the corner, some folks do not find the time or feel motivated to visit them. Inspired by her husband Kapil Khanna’s love for reading, Guneeta Khanna recently started a street library. As the satori goes the couple went on a cruise to celebrate their golden birthday. The time and space on-board the ship motivated Guneeta and Kapil to pick up their favourite reads whilst sitting under the warm sun, nursing a drink and munching on a bite or two.
Guneeta has created Blacktown’s first free street public library, within the Fairwater area. This helps minimise the issue of time and availability for reading books. Additionally, it fosters a stronger community relationship, engaging emerging and veteran readers with a constantly changing book collection.
The street library, located at 146, Fairwater Boulevard in Blacktown, was officially inaugurated on Saturday the 7th of March, 2020, by Blacktown Councillor Moninder Singh. A 7 year old resident, Vivaan Aggarwal set the ball rolling by reading aloud a book from the library. Local community members showed their support by being present, donating books and borrowing a few that caught their fancy.
The Blacktown council pledged to donate many books to the library and thus create a larger resource base for the readers. Jai from Print Concierge and his wife Kerry took it upon themselves to sponsor two large banners for the street library. Pure Desi sponsored the sweet treat ‘Ballushahi’ for the Fairwater community to savour at the inauguration of ‘146, Fairwater Boulevard Free Fun Library.’
Councillor Moninder Singh, “At the inauguration of this amazing free fun street library @ Fairwater Boulevard, Blacktown, we appreciate and thank Guneeta Khanna Ji for her initiative to share books with her neighbours and the wider community. We at Blacktown Council hope that Guneeta can share the know-how of setting up and running the street library at various festivals and other platforms. I am sure that this will support more people follow her lead. In this day and age even though the mobile devices have created an expanded scope to reading, the social media takes too much time in our lives and has killed the interest in reading. Guneeta Khanna’s endeavour to providing access to books through her street library is ‘unique’ and will support the masses engage with the books and the knowledge the books hold. People might even donate the preloved books for others to read and it would work vice versa too”.
When asked about why reading is important and how Fairwater’s street library will help people read more, Om Dhungel said, “I have always believed in books.” He believed in books because of the way books had shaped and changed his life for the better. Having ready access to books will help a person to develop a passion. Such initiatives ‘Help build community relations’ and ‘expand with support of communities.’ Creating an opportunity for people to get involved outside an individual level, helps create friendships among members of communities and anybody who wishes to be involved.
For further information and guidance to starting a street library feel free to contact Guneeta Khanna: firstname.lastname@example.org
Article by: Saarthak Aggarwal
(Freelance Journalist ~*~ Year 10 Student)