Some friends have expressed concern about safety of books on the Read & Share shelf placed at D block lobby in our apartments complex. What, if people forget to return the books they take away for reading. Admittedly, there would be some forgetful book-takers. But I wouldn’t let them defeat a community reading initiative. We call it, Books in Search of Readers (BISOR). I got the idea from Bookcrossing, a website dedicated to “the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.”
Bookcrossing may not work in our town, where many of us treasure our books. We are so fond of seeing them sitting on our shelf that we hesitate to loan our prized titles even to friends, if only because those who borrow books rarely return them. But then we also have books, not so indispensable, taking up shelf-space, simply because we can’t find interested readers. A book-lover prefers to donate rather than dispose of unwanted books as ruddhi.
So we thought of Books in Search of Readers – an idea that helps donars find readers in Mantri Synergy, a 9-block apartments complex that account for over 700 family units. The R & S shelf placed in D block is an experiment in open-source library. If it works, we could put up a book shelf in each of the other eight blocks. Viewed in the perspective of giving and sharing books, the idea of BISOR isn’t so bizarre as it sounds. Or is it ?
We have had some people ask why we need to have a book shelf in lobby, when we have a decent, air-conditioned library at the clubhouse in our complex. A library, with its membership constraints , is a place where the interested, and only the eligible members go, looking for books to read. At BISOR we have books looking for readers. An open-source book-shelf is designed to attract anyone passing by the lobby or waiting a few minutes for a lift.
I don’t know how many people visit our clubhouse library; I suspect they would be fewer than those going to the gym. Book-reading isn’t a strong favourite as a past-time for most in today’s generation. Maybe, if we place a book self at the gym, we could get some interested in books. BISOR is a modest attempt to make books reach out to those who don’t usually visit a library. BISOR and Mantri Synergy book group can promote each other, and , hopefully, generate interest in books and reading in a close knit residential community. Those leaving books on R & S shelf can list donated titles; and readers browsing R & S shelf can interact online in our community book group. Mantri Synergy book group can do with a lot more members than its current membership of three.