The first project of HelpwithBooks was to help set up the Shiwatso Library, Mundgod (previously known as Mundgod Public Library) located at Mundgod Doeguling Tibetan Settlement, South India.
What began as a small idea in 2010 finally came to fruition last year. The construction of the building was completed in November 2016, we had received over 800 books via our books donation drive, both by collecting gently-used books from individuals, book sets donated by various organizations, and through Shiwatso’s Amazon.in wishlist.
The library was blessed with the name Shiwatso Library from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Shiwatso (Shantarakshita – “Guardian of peace” was an Indian scholar from Nalanda and is considered one of the pioneer who brought Buddhism to Tibet)
Namgyal Lhamo, young and recently graduated from Bangalore University, joined Shiwatso library in November as the librarian. We sought help from our friend and mentor Sujata Noronha and her team from www.bookwormgoa.in who helped sort, label and arrange the books in the library. They also carried out short workshops for teachers on how to use the library which was appreciated by the teachers.
We ended the year 2016 on a high note with the auspicious inauguration by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 22 Dec 2016 and we officially opened to the public. It was a blessed day to have His Holiness at the library and to see his interaction with the children; it was a wonderful experience for everyone. We are delighted to share with you a few pictures.
His Holiness’ message at the inauguration will guide and inspire us to continue to work towards providing a space for exploring, experimenting and learning in the community. We share the translation of his message below:
“A special feature of the human brain is the capacity to discern what is right and wrong and to take into account, the long and short-term advantages and disadvantages of things, and education is the key to opening the door to them.
Therefore, it is very important for the concerned teachers and staff not to believe any matter immediately but to draw conclusions only after scrutinizing them thoroughly.”
A Buddhist Monk
22 December 2016
Now the community has a wonderful space that aims to foster learning, inspire self-empowerment and promote positive social change. Since the inauguration, we continue to have many visitors, young and old, curious and excited, drawn by their love for books and a yearning for a quiet space. It is a beginning of our work to cater to the inquisitive minds of the young children and help them in their growth as an individual. We have come to realize that when access is assured, we offer the opportunity for the people and a community to flourish. You can stay updated with their activities via their Facebook page.
We still work closely with Shiwatso library to help them coordinate different activities and work towards evolving into a centre for learning, offering not just books but other means of learning and so much more the community can come in for.