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30 Nov 2023, Edition - 3061, Thursday

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Bibliotheca – real people, real stories

Umaima Shafiq


A Coimbatore-based non-profit organisation Vilimbu, is steadily working for inclusivity of the transgender community at work and study places, through an interesting initiative called Bibliotheca. This initiative aims to inspire reading through live subjects.

Bibliotheca’s operations manager Sriram Anax told The Covai Post, “It is a human library concept, where human beings interact with a limited crowd as verbal books. Our subject for last week was a potter who spoke about his life’s experiences. We organised it at a potters’ community in Koundampalayam. Our audience is limited to a maximum of 10 people.”

Earlier Bibliotheca’s human reading subjects were a school owner, a manager of a micro-credit financing unit, theatre artiste, a cobbler and a transgender.

Sriram, a business management student at Kumaraguru College has been organising Bibliotheca for the past two years. His friends – Deepak and Sathish – are his partners in Bibliotheca. They are all part of Vilimbu also, which has eight members.

“We limit the crowd so that the concept reaches across, and people can have a very interactive experience. They can record, jot notes, ask questions and later use it for their personal reading. We charge a fee and provide refreshments. This apart, we pay the subject a day’s wages if he is a daily wage worker, as he has to forgo that to talk to us, ” said Sriram.

Bibliotheca’s next subject is a middle-aged woman selling idlies on the roadside. They choose people from all walks of life.

On how he got inspired, Sriram said, “Our concept is to understand different types of people, particularly from the transgender community, who are socially marginalised in schools, colleges and offices. So one of our main aims is transgender inclusivity and sensitising the youth towards them and on how to approach socially different people.”

Asked how he balances this initiative with his studies, he said, “It is not very hard. We work only on weekends. Besides, my friends also contribute time with me.”

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