(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Ten-year-old Sean Sanoop George and his parents Betsey Mathew and Sanoop George are avid readers.
The realisation that there is not enough space to store their ever-growing book collection, the mother and son decided to launch a unique book sharing concept 'Read Swap Repeat'.
A Grade 5 student of The Millennium School Dubai, Sean realised that he can give back to the community by setting up shelves in public spaces, such as malls, hospitals, and educational centres, and encouraging people to pick up books for free, and returning them to other 'Read Swap Repeat' shelves across the UAE.
"The books would keep piling on my shelf. After a while, I asked my mum if there is something we can do to help other people. We sat together and hatched the book sharing concept," Sean told Khaleej Times.
These mini libraries have now sprung up in four locations across the UAE. The first shelf was set-up outside the food court entrance in Uptown Mirdiff Mall, the second and third are in Brainobrain learning centres in, Qusais and Al Mirdiff, Khawaneej. The fourth shelf is in Ras Al Khaimah Hospital's community-seating area.
The concept takes inspiration from the initiatives by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and ties together the year of innovation, the Year of Reading, and the Year of Giving.
"Books are placed on these common shelves for people to take, read, swap and read again," chimed in Betsey. "They're branded with a simple Read Swap Repeat sticker that reminds people to return the books when they are done with reading," she added. Fiction, non-fiction, children's books, encyclopedias, are some of the common books found on these shelves. Children's books are very popular with readers, according to Sean. "I've had a man at Uptown Mirdiff come and tell me that the initiative is great because he can't afford to buy too many books," said Sean.
The family goes door-to-door collecting books from various residential communities and has collected close to 300 books since its launch. "Book lovers should be able to take a book, read, and place it back while they are just relaxing in these public spaces," said Betsey.
The initiative is fast growing popularity on social networking sites, and the family want to have a shelf in every major location across the country. "It started off with us placing one shelf in our neighbourhood, which started becoming popular real soon. In six months, we've set up four shelves," added Sean.
Dhanusha Gokulan The resident transport and traffic expert, with a touch of music, culture, and youth. I report on everything from rent hikes to traffic jams, from 'most expensive' experiences to tallest buildings, from encouraging upcoming talents to camels laughing. I've been a journalist for seven years and I am ridiculously passionate about music, books, internet memes, Facebook procrastination, and the occasional sport activity (candycrush).