Libraries have played a very important role in collecting and disseminating knowledge among public. But TV channels and the digital media may have proved a spoiler here.

Kerala-based NGO ‘One Library Per Village’ (OLPV) aims to stem what it calls a slide here, and has propounded a vision to convert libraries into collaborative learning centres for all age groups.

Unique place

The State occupies a unique place in the library movement and boasts the largest number, per head of rural libraries in India. This uniqueness is reflected also in the quality of service.

So it is only in the fitness of things that a homegrown NGO should have spared some thought about conserving the concept of the local library for the benefit of the future generation.

It recently launched the #BookBucketChallenge app to help users to locate nearest local library and make provide them virtual membership, says Sujai Pillai, founder.

Viral campaign

A free download from Google Playstore or from , it is a take-off from the #BookBucketChallenge campaign for listing one's favourite 10 books, which had gone viral on the Internet.

It was also recently nominated for the SAARC Social Media for Empowerment set up by the Digital Empowerment Foundation. The app helps users to locate a local library, read reviews and download e-books.

It could well double up as a location-based social network platform for sharing knowledge, Pillai told BusinessLine. “Big publishing houses have already stopped printing hard copies of classic books and our next generation is not going to see many.”

The new app has an option to collect and preserve them and preserve them. Arijith KG, architect and chief technology officer of the NGO, is confident that this app would be highly useful for students and those who are preparing for competitive exams.

Library listings

More features ranging from educational-networking, donating/selling books, teaching online to knowledge-based discussion would be added soon after getting feedback from users and libraries. Currently, the app lists addresses of more than 70,000 libraries in the country.

The NGO’s #SaveLibrary campaign had collected three lakh books from the public and donated to Chennai Library to compensate the five lakh titles lost in Chennai Floods in 2015.

“The librarian of the Connemara Library Chennai has now extended an offer that he would reward donors of good books, especially the first editions, as part of the #BookBucketChallenge campaign,” says Pillai.