Tribute to Pandit Nehru: Kolkata trams’ latest feather in its long history: A library on wheels for kids

The library, curated by Oxford Bookstore, boasts of an eclectic mix of poems, plays, novels and comic books, and works of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Chetan Bhagat and others.

Two-century-old tramways in Kolkata on Saturday added another chapter to its glorious past and present for the benefit of the future generation. The West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) in association with Apeejay Anand Children’s Library has launched the “world’s first tram library for children”. The initiative was a tribute to Jawaharlal Nehru whose birth anniversary on November 14 is celebrated as Children’s Day.

Passengers younger than 18 years can travel on the 19th-century tram for free.

The library was virtually launched on the tram routes between Shyambazar and Esplanade, and Esplanade Gariahat – which connect north and south of Kolkata — by WBTC MD Rajanvir Singh Kapur and Director of Apeejay Surrendra Priti Paul. The library, curated by Oxford Bookstore, boasts of an eclectic mix of poems, plays, novels and comic books, and works of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Chetan Bhagat and others.

“The idea behind the Kolkata Young Reader’s Tramcar is that all children should get access to good books, and what better than the Kolkata trams! Rids for children will be free. Adults above 18 can surely enjoy the ride at normal AC tram fares. We thank the efforts and zeal of Apeejay Anand Children’s Library team to associate with us in this project, implementing it at a super-lightning speed. It is truly a great Children’s Day gift for Kolkata,” said Kapur.

“Our Heritage Oxford Bookstore Kolkata is proud to have supported the reading habit across generations of readers both across the city and the nation. It now literally, ‘moves ahead’ with the Kolkata Young Readers’ Tramcar… We congratulate our partner WBTC for promoting ‘culture on the move’, which truly reflects the creative persona of the metropolis,” said Maina Bhagat, Director, Apeejay Oxford Bookstores.
Authorities have planned to hold poetry, drama and reading sessions, and book launches on board.

“We believe that a library is essential to every child’s holistic development, and that knowledge and books are game changers enhancing the future of each child. Reading and learning on the move will undoubtedly augment their recreational environment, and we are committed to facilitate this,” said Paul.

The Kolkata tramways have been operating since 1873 when the maiden trip took off with horses. WBTC has taken several initiatives to popularise trams by decorating them with artwork and launching a library on the Esplanade and Shyambazar route.

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