“She could smell the pages. She could almost taste the words as they stacked up around her.”― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
There are certain books that stay with you long after you have read them. The Book Thief has been one of my favourites from the hundreds of books that I have read till date. True to the quote mentioned above, one of my favourite childhood memories is going into my local library and sitting for hours going over the stacks of books that surrounded me. While I was lucky enough to have access to this bundle of knowledge, there are very few lucky ones who can experience the magic of this treasure house of knowledge especially in the interiors of our country.
Located around 36 km. from Darjeeling is a local school teacher trying to overcome this challenge through a library called as the Book Thief Open Library. Srijana Subba, a teacher of Pokhriabong Girls’ Higher Secondary School near Darjeeling is making this space popular in her own unique way. Inspired by reading the book the Book Thief, she wondered how the world would be if everyone could engage in this wonderful activity without any restrictions on them. In this wonderful book set in the background of World War II in Germany, the protagonist of this book is fascinated by the power of words and ends up stealing books from mansions and bonfires. The idea of young minds having access to such a beautiful world of books rather than engaging in anti-social activities made her take the next step towards creating this space.