India’s First Airport Reading Lounge inaugurated at Varanasi

Come, be a part of the Airport Reading Lounge by National Book Trust India – take a pause, turn the pages of a book, meet new characters & live their lives, meet literary icons of India, get photographed, create memories, and experience this unique stop-over before embarking for your destination.

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Airports are a gateway to another city, a new world where we make memories, and take with us impressions and inspirations. India, the nation of a billion aspirations, needs reding spaces for exchange of ideas and to take up the role of Vishwa Guru, especially in the year of its Presidency of G20 and Chairmanship of SCO summits.

India’s first airport reading lounge…

Varanasi, being the oldest continuously inhabited city and the cultural capital of India has inspired sages, authors, poets and philosophers for thousands of years. Hence, it is even more pertinent that National Book Trust India (under Ministry of Education, Govt. of India) has set-up an Airport Reading Lounge – the very first of its kind in the world, where access to best of the books is free for all visitors and passengers.

The inauguration…

“A very unique and effective way to promote reading, this one of its kind Reading Lounge on an airport – especially in the City of Varanasi – is a positive step towards achieving the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister to make India excel globally as a well-read population,” said Awanish Awasthi, IAS, Advisor to Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, while inaugurating the Reading Lounge. Lauding the efforts of National Book Trust, India and AAI in making reading accessible to flyers, Awasthi also added that such Reading lounges may also be opened in other cities of Uttar Pradesh by NBT-India, and the State Govt. will be happy to provide support in making UP one of the first such states to do so.

The inaugural ceremony saw the presence of Malini Awasthi, Padam Shri; Aryama Sanyal, Airport Director, LBSI Airport Varanasi, and Yuvraj Malik, Director NBT-India and the event was attended by students of Sunbeam School, who were in for a treat as the inaugural event was followed by storytelling, quiz and extempore sessions.

The Airport Reading Lounge…

The Airport Reading Lounge is a reflection of Kashi, for both traditionalists as well as the contemporary visitors and passengers, and for those who wish to seek further knowledge on the mystical heritage of this ancient city. In addition to the books on India’s culture, history, traditional knowledge system, health & wellness, literature in Hindi, French, Spanish, English and many other Indian languages, the Reading Lounge also celebrates the literary icons of Varanasi through their works, iconic places and unknown facts and relation with the city. The Reading Lounge also has a dedicated shelf exhibiting recently-published books of budding writers under Prime Minister’s Mentorship Scheme for Young Authors (PM-YUVA Scheme), which includes works of YUVA authors from UP, the youngest being just 15-year-old.

From toddlers to young adults – there is a book for every young reader in the Reading Lounge. Well-stocked with a large collection of children’s books – the colourful illustrations, attractive covers, friendly characters, peppy storyline, intriguing and imaginative text, emotional connect with the child – the range of books from pictorial, comic style, bilingual, and to age-appropriately-graded content ensures each child is constructively engaged during those long waiting hours at the airport.

The Reading Lounge takes care of minutest attributes to bring the comfort of a Library and a Lounge at one place – long benches, low-height stools for kids, LED Screen playing Digital content, books categorized on different accessible shelves and a reading boat, inspired by NBT-India’s Floating Library initiative started last year.

For the keen travelers, who like to click every backdrop to capture the memory for posterity, there is a spot in the Reading Lounge which depicts the traditional umbrella seen on the illustrious ghats of Varanasi, which creates the impression of a person actually sitting on the banks of Ganga under the umbrella.

For the ones in a hurry, the Reading Lounge offers Free access to download portions of any book, through the means of a QR code. For the technology-driven generation, another QR code gives access to select Free Audio books, on the comfort of a mobile, laptop or tablet.

As Anna Quindlen says, “Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”

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