The Revolving Library aims to introduce underprivileged children to the wonderful world of books.
THEY call themselves the Revolvers. On weekends – and sometimes weekdays, too – these volunteers visit orphanages and children’s homes to deliver books and set up reading corners and make-shift libraries. They also conduct reading activities for the children. Every few months, the books are collected from the homes and replaced with a fresh batch so that the children get to read new books. The books move from home to home, hence the name of the unique project: The Revolving Library.
The Revolving Library (TRL) is the brainchild of Vannitha Balasingam, a former sub-editor who has taken time off to focus on her other passion – playing Scrabble. She has competed in national and international tournaments over the years, and is currently training for the 2013 World Scrabble Championship.
“It all started when I wanted to get rid of some of my stuff,” says Vannitha, with a laugh. “I am a real pack rat and find it extremely hard to get rid of my things. But I was moving and had no choice. I started a second-hand souk on Facebook and decided to donate 10% of my sales to charity. I quickly realised that 10% from sales of second-hand items wasn’t going to add up to much, and decided to use the money for books which I could donate to children’s homes,” Vannitha, 40, explains. Her simple idea quickly grew into something larger.
“Pretty soon, friends started asking me if I could sell their second-hand items on my online souk. I agreed on condition that they give me 10% of their sales for my project. Before I knew it, I had enough to buy a small collection of books – enough to get things going,” she shares. As she was sorting out her books and planning her first “drop off,” Vannitha had another lightbulb moment.Full story in your copy of The Star today