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Shannon Zirkle-Prabhakar is all set to give the city its first ‘free’ library

No membership fee, no filling forms, no return deadlines. The US-based Little Free Library, that has been around since 2009, is a concept that promotes reading through an honour system, and Shannon Lee Zirkle-Prabhakar, a city-based photographer, is introducing Chennai to it. “I felt that libraries are not easily accessible here. In the States, every neighbourhood has a free library,” says Zirkle-Prabhakar. Her Little Free Library will be located on the porch of her home in Egmore, to be launched on July 19.
Anyone is free to take a book or add to the collection of books at the library, says Zirkle-Prabhakar, who will be stacking between 50 and 75 old books across various genres in an old cupboard that she is painting for the purpose.

little-library-01There are currently four such libraries in the country, that are registered with Little Free Library. “On Littlefreelibrary.org you will see a map of all the libraries that are registered with them,” she says, adding that she has also started a Facebook page for her library, to build a community where readers can stay involved.

“Anyone who has a book that they would like to share can add it to the library,” says Zirkle-Prabhakar, explaining that there are no restrictions on language or genre if someone wishes to contribute. But with no membership or deadlines or need to identify oneself before taking a book, will people actually return them? “There are risks like that, but we’ll know once it starts,” says Zirkle-Prabhakar, who hopes that people will not misuse the concept and respect that it is for a cause — to promote reading.
Timing: During daylight hours. Details: facebook.com/groups/LFLChennai/

-Ryan Peppin

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