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    Top libraries in the city showcase activities, workshops and new books

    Power writing @ The British Council Library
    The British Council Library and Information Services has nine centres that boasts a total collection of 25,000 print books, 4,000 DVDs, 300 audio books and 50 of the best UK periodicals and newspapers. In addition, one can access a vast collection of online resources including over 85,000 e-books and 7,000 full text e-journals. Their newly added collection includes books on architecture, English language teaching, self-help books, cookery, British culture, exam preparatory material and fiction from young authors in UK, audio books and CDs of UK music, theatre and cinema. Regarding the events for the upcoming year, there is a management and life-skills workshop every month.Exclusive members’ competitions, quiz shows, literary discussions, film screenings, arts and crafts workshops for kids and exhibitions are in the pipeline. Details: britishcouncil.in/programmes/ libraries.

    Digital books@Bookshare India
    This online digital library for the print-disabled has more than one lakh books—mostly in English with some in Hindi and Tamil. It is very useful for children with learning disabilities as they pick up better by hearing rather than reading a book. At present, they also have digital books and free assistive software for multi-modal reading. The annual membership fee is `400 per annum. Details: venkat@bookshare.org

    Indian books @Iloveread
    Popular online library, iloveread, is adding recommended reads in the Book Lovers’ Program catalogue under the kids section. “They have a 300-book recommended read list from ages five to 15. Due to member requests, our Tamil section has grown quite a bit now,” says Amrutash, who manages the online library. According to her fiction is the most popular genre in the library. ‘‘We get a lot of students, so a lot of college classics —Midnight’s Children, Catcher in the Rye, Fountainhead, Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, etc – are the most popular books. We’ve seen a rise in requests for 2 States—We think it’s because of the movie coming out. Among childrens books, we see a lot of Indian books moving out—Tulika, Karadi, etc. The new Duckbill books are loved a lot too,” she says.

    Bibliotherapy@ Hippocampus
    At Hippocampus, there are over 15,000 books across 50 subjects and the subject they have launched most recently is called Bibliot-herapy – Healing through books. Through Biblioth-erapy  they hope to help children deal with problems such as separation of parents, death of a pet, birth of a new sibling, learning about special children, etc. The books assist children in building confidence, self esteem and it also sensitises them to other issues. This summer, the kids centre is re-introducing The Great Tale Chase—A Summer Reading Challenge. The format this year is that of a board game, which is sure to get kids hooked on to books. Kids can read and win vouchers, certificates and gifts. They also provide good reading guides to schools, and display them at their libraries, recommending some award-winning and notable books. `300 for a month inclusive of Saturday activities. One could borrow a book for 14 days. Details: 42116417

    Social skills @Good books
    Ishita Shete’s book store, Goodbooks, in Anna Nagar is a bit of both— a library and an activity centre. “We have a lot of resource alliance-francaise-de-daccamaterial and play books for children. At the same time, we also have puzzles, learning through theatre, lateral thinking, quizzes, and more that they conduct at the library and activity centre,” says Ishita who manages the library, currently. Initial fee is `1,500 and books can be borrowed for 15 days. They also have a summer camp that includes art and craft, communication skills plus table etiquette and social skills. Details: 9840810361

    Movies @USIS
    This summer, besides a new collection of books like Boxers, Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz: Making Light Of Weighty Ideas, Fallout, How To Catch A Bogle and more, The American Library as part of the US Consulate is also screening movies for children. ‘‘We have movies like Epic, Tarzan, Megamind and Hotel Transylvania for children,’’ says Leena Sidharthan, reference librarian. Starting May, the screening is on every Saturday at 10.30 am. Details: 28574376

    Reading group@Goethe-Institut
    Besides promoting the German language, Goethe-Institut also has regular language classes. ‘‘Our main target group and user group are students who learn German,’’ says Shrutha Sivakumar, the librarian. Well stocked with resource material for students, the library also has a strong literature section. They also have a good deal of books on philosophy, history, geography and architecture. This summer, they have reading group and games evening. Details: 28331314

    Reading groups @ Goethe-Institut
    Though Book Building is not an actually library, they do have a reading corner for children, with a selection of books (both from Tara and other publishers). There is a bookshop (selling Tara Books at a special discount), programme of book-related events, and a gallery space with exhibitions, broadly related to books. Their current exhibition is about women’s everyday art in India. In terms of events, they have everything from arts, crafts and storytelling workshops for children. At Book Building, Thiruvanmiyur, from 10 am onwards. Details: 42601033

     —Mrinalini Sundar

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