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World Book Day & libraries in Panjim

Today is World Book and Copyright Day.  Why today?

23 April is a symbolic date for world literature for on this date in 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.


So while you remember all your favourite authors and thank your lucky stars for the privilege of being able to read, let me tell you about new developments in the Panjim library scene (yeah, we’ve got one 🙂

The Bookworm library has moved to Taleigaon and we were delighted to see the new sprawling house which holds hundreds of colourful books for children and a few grown-up books too. Bookworm is Goa’s sole library for children and it deserves more support and attention. At this new home, not only is the library open all day but the increased space means that they can now host workshops (a Warli painting workshop was in progress this morning when I popped in to return some of M’s books), hold meetings and have a space for toddlers to play around with toys while their siblings browse.

The brightly painted space is so inviting for kids – walls in primary colours, tiny chairs and tables, books at the right height for the right ages, staff that encourage browsing, toys at toddler height, rugs on the floor…

Have you been to the new Bookworm yet? Drop by one morning. It’s great!

We also finally made it to the new Central Library. Now renamed the Krishnadas Shama library (who’s he? Find out here.), Panjim’s library has moved into a swanky five-floor building in crazy, pot-holed Patto on the outskirts of the city. If it wasn’t for the ordeal of getting to the library, I’d be there everyday.

The building, designed by Gerard da Cunha, is full of light, airy and easy to navigate. The expanse of space for each section means that there is plenty of empty shelf space available for new books and you can browse without fear of injury. The children’s library on the second floor is a gorgeous light space filled with child-friendly items. On a Friday morning, there were about a dozen kids quietly reading (a lovely sight) and we passed many more on their way in as we left. Teddy bears and other toys watched from the top of the filing cabinets (cello-taped to the wood to prevent little fingers walking off with them), eight rocking horses lined up next to the huge glass walls (fun, but poor quality. Mind your kid if s/he’s sitting on it.), child-sized chairs and tables and very comfy velvet sofas in a contemporary design. There’s also a “children’s internet section”.

Bookworm, though, has more books than the Central Library’s children’s book section, and is better organised in terms of ages. The staff at Bookworm are also more clued up than the Central Library, which has friendly staff, but not very well versed on what books are where/ age appropriate books for children.

The other floors are similarly enticing. A large internet section will prove to be popular and I can imagine spending quiet time with a book there. Good place to get work done when one wants to escape the house.

If only they could repair that darn potholed road asap (work in progress for an eternity).


(Images via Flickr, Bookworm )


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