In the span of a few years, a dimly lit corner of the temple that once served as a shoe and coat area has been transformed into a bright and vibrant center of learning, The Bharatiya Community Library.
Thanks to a generous contribution from Dr. Kirit and Mrs. Malti Patel to develop the space, the Bharatiya Community Library is able to offer temple members and the broader community an inviting and comfortable environment to explore Hindu philosophy and literature, Indian history and culture, and current affairs.
The library features a rich collection of scriptural texts, along with interpretive works, children’s books and puzzles, a selection of devotional and classical music CDs, magazines such as India Today, Outlook and even Car India, plus three easy-to-use Chrome OS computer workstations. Stop in and study our massive wall map of India and show your children where you or their grandparents grew up. Connect to the free wi-fi service. Or pore through any one of the 13 magazines in our periodicals section, made available by a generous contribution from life members Dr. Yarlagadda K. Prasad and Mrs. Vimala Prasad. And pick up a free bookmark as your reminder to come back soon.
Every square inch of the library is a testament to the dedication and passion of volunteers – some as young as 9 years old -- who have worked tirelessly to assemble and arrange every chair, table and shelf; install and configure computer equipment; implement new library technology; sort, catalog and shelve more than 1,000 books; and decorate the walls.
Volunteers continue to invest their time and know-how to keep the library open every weekend and to develop innovative solutions and programming to engage and serve the community. For example, a team led by Jayashree Ravi, Craig Rodewald and Kawita Kandpal developed a mobile app that allows for easy sign-in for patrons when they arrive at the library. Ravindra Patil has written the computer macros that allow members to check out materials with just a few clicks of a mouse or barcode scanner.
Earlier this year, young volunteer Varun Kashyap led the library’s first Storytime, reading his favorite stories and jokes from Tinkle magazine to other young children. This was the library’s first public event, and it attracted about a dozen young families on a Friday evening. Many more such events are planned, with varied programming, to engage different audiences.
Patrons can find out more about what’s available and what’s happening at the library by connecting with its Facebook page, (facebook.com/BharatiyaLibrary).
Our biggest need at the moment is committed volunteer staff who can ensure that the library stays open during its scheduled weekend hours and help expand the operating hours to weekday evenings.
But you can help by simply visiting. Come in, look around, grab a book, have a seat and get comfortable.
We look forward to seeing more engagement from the community and continuing to build the library for our children and their children.