A group of women has set up a mini-library for an old age home in Pujali, in South 24-Parganas, for a generation that is used to reading books and not swiping screens.
The library has been set up with a collection of 400 books and magazines in Bengali, English and Hindi, both fiction and non-fiction, which could keep the residents engaged and give them an opportunity to discuss what they read.
It is not a traditional library where one has to read silently. It has been created as a space for discussions, maybe over a cup of tea.
Ananthamaya Elder Care Facility, about 10km from Budge Budge, run by Nirvana Foundation, has five residents in their 70s and 10 more will be joining the facility soon.
“This is an age group used to reading, not like the current generation who have to be guided to read books. In fact, they may have earlier read some of the books we have given and the library would give them the opportunity to revisit the books,” said Srabanee Chakraborty, founder president, Rotary Club of Calcutta Avyanna, which set up the library.
The all-women club named the library “Kichhu Golpo” and promised to add more books.
“It is a place where one can discuss a book he or she is reading,” said Chakraborty.
Club president Apala Datta said the foundation had approached the club.
“The residents have no family and reading provides emotional succour. It is not always enough to provide food or materialistic benefits. Reading feeds the brain and is a respite from loneliness, too,” said Datta.
The library will keep the residents engaged, a trustee of the foundation said.
“They like reading and listening to stories,” the trustee said.
The trustee added that the elderly care centre has the facilities needed for a comfortable life. It is also home to destitutes.
The foundation has been running it for two years but like most such places, arranging funds during the pandemic has been a challenge.
“Donations have dried up and to sustain the facility, we do need funds,” said a trustee.