After the pandemic

“I have observed that people have begun reading during the lockdown,” Bathula said. “More and more parents are enquiring about becoming members and are willing to spend time visiting the library. Since screen time for children has gone up considerably due to online classes, parents want their kids to stay away from devices at other times.”

The online sessions have helped the library organise author interactions, which would otherwise have been impossible. And the library is hopeful that the weekend reading and storytelling sessions will soon be resumed. Bathula is clear that while she might not make enough money with the library, she will continue to pursue this passion.

But the pandemic has made her rethink her strategy. Earlier, she was convinced that a child needed to walk into a space crammed with books and actively choose their own. Bathula is now considering customised plans and delivery options to spread services across the city. And yes, her plans for 2021 include buying a collection of manga comics.

This series of articles on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on publishing is curated by Kanishka Gupta.