Perumkulam – First Book Village in Kerala | Idea of Book Nests

 In India, India, Kerala, Places To Visit, Travel

In today’s world where podcasts and audiobooks are slowly taking center stage among the reading community, a village in Kerala has attempted a daring feat to save the dying culture of reading books. We are talking about Perumkulam – the first book village in Kerala.

Imagine a place where houses have book “nests” instead of a post box just outside their houses, where the streets are decorated with book stands, and the air is filled with the murmur of turning pages. This isn’t just a fictional happiness for a book lover, but the enchanting reality of Perumkulam, Kerala’s first village of books!

Are you curious about how did this happen? Then, let me tell you the story of Perumkulam book village in Kerala. 

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Story of Perumkulam – First Book Village In Kerala

Seeds of Inspiration: The Humble Beginnings


The establishment of Perumkulam as a book village in Kerala was inspired by India’s first book village which is Bhilar village in Maharashtra. With this pioneering initiative, Perumkulam embarked on its own literary journey, aiming to foster a love for reading and transform itself into a knowledge hub.

While the announcement of Perumkulam as the first book village in Kerala was done on 19 June 2021 on the occasion of National Reading Day, the story goes way behind.

It all started in 1948 after Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead. A few young people from Perumkulam, a village in the Kollam district of Kerala decided to help people to recover from the grief of Gandhi’s death. Koozhaikaatuveetil Krishna Pillai and his few friends collected around 100 books from wherever possible and set them in a little room in the village.

Many people started visiting this little room where storytelling sessions, book reading sessions, etc were organized to inspire people to read. This led to the formation of Bappuji Smaraka Vayanashala (Bappuji Memorial Library). Over the years this library had a roller coaster ride according to the trend. It saw the grands events along, months without readers, shift of venue, also being closed several times.

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Blooming Of Book Nests: Transformation Into A Literacy Hub


The roller coaster ride of the Bappuji Memorial Library finally got stable and went uphill after February 2016, when the library was once again rebuilt and revived. But Perumkulam’s transformation as the first book village in Kerala wasn’t an overnight magic trick. 

After February 2016, the library got many new books contributed by well-wishers and enthusiastic readers which attracted many book lovers. However, the people running the library observed the declining reading habits in the village, particularly among the younger generation. They dreamed of creating a space that would reignite the joy of reading and make books accessible to everyone. 

With this vision, came the idea of building “book nests” at the major junctions of Perumkulam which could hold almost 50 books. The first book nest was installed in 2019 and this idea was a huge success. Gradually the book nests across the village went from 1 to 10 and soon, a wave of support swept through Perumkulam which played a major role in making the first book village in Kerala.

Even during the years of COVID-19, it was these book nests that connected people and encouraged them to read more. People donated books, magazines, biographies, etc. They even volunteered their time, and transformed their homes into mini-libraries, installed book nests outside their houses, etc. 

Local artists chipped in, painting murals depicting iconic literary figures on walls, adding a splash of color and character to the village. Now, when you walk through the village and see people waiting at the bus stops or sitting idly in public areas, you won’t find them scrolling their phones, but reading books from these book nests.

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Blooming with Bookish Delights: Exploring Perumkulam’s Magic


Today, Perumkulam – the first book village in Kerala is a living example of the power of community and shared love for literature. As you walk through the village, you’ll be greeted by the sight of vibrant “book nests” overflowing with novels, biographies, and children’s stories. 

These nests, lovingly crafted by villagers, offer a free library experience, inviting anyone to pick up a book and get lost in its world. These book nests are installed at several places across the village like post offices, bus stops, public parks and gardens, etc so that reading won’t be restricted to the library itself. You can even take a book home, by replacing it with another book. The idea is simple “Give a book and take a book”.

Beyond the nests, Perumkulam boasts several charming book cafes. Imagine sipping on filter coffee while flipping through the pages of your favorite author, surrounded by the warm aroma of books and the gentle murmurs of fellow readers. Pure bliss, right?

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Impacting Lives, Page by Page


Perumkulam’s transformation hasn’t just been aesthetic; it was about creating a community where books are accessible and engaging. Reading rates have soared, with this initiative. 

Children, once hesitant towards studies, now eagerly participate in reading programs. Young adults find inspiration and career guidance in biographies and self-help books. Elders share their wisdom through storytelling sessions, bridging the generation gap. But the impact of this first book village in Kerala goes beyond individual aspirations.

Perumkulam has become a tourist destination, attracting book lovers and curious travelers from across the globe. This tourist influx has increased economic growth, creating opportunities for local businesses and artisans. The village now hosts literary events, workshops, and book fairs, further solidifying its position as a hub for intellectual exchange and cultural vibrancy.

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From Inspiration to Invitation: The Future of Perumkulam


Perumkulam’s story is far from over. The villagers are constantly striving to add new chapters to their literary haven. Plans are underway to establish a digital library, providing wider access to ebooks and audiobooks. 

The community also envisions setting up a literary museum and organizing international book festivals, further amplifying the village’s voice on the global literary stage. Several initiatives in this first book village in Kerala are already attracting several visitors like – bookmaking workshops, the Annual Perumkulam Literary Festival, etc.

Perumkulam book village in Kerala continues to serve as an inspiration to communities across the world. It’s a living example of the transformative power of collective action and the enduring love for the written word. 

So, whether you’re a seasoned bibliophile or simply curious about this unique first book village in Kerala, consider adding Perumkulam to your travel bucket list. Immerse yourself in its bookish charm, get lost in the stories it holds, and discover the magic that unfolds when a community embraces the power of reading.

Where is Kerala's first village of books located?

The first book village in Kerala is Perumkulam. It is a small village just 5 km from Kulakkada near Kottarakkara. This village lies in the Kollam district of Kerala.

What facilities can visitors expect to find in Kerala's first village of books?

Visitors to Kerala’s first village of books can expect to find a range of facilities catering to book lovers. These include public book nests filled with a variety of books, cozy reading spots, and a few charming book cafes. You can borrow or exchange books freely from the nests. Additionally, the village has a library hosts various events for the readers.

What inspired the establishment of Kerala's first village of books?

The story of Perumkulam began with a vision to revive the love for reading in the community. Inspired by the success of Bhilar, Maharashtra’s first book village, the local residents rebuilt their public library along with installing several book nests across the village to create a space that would make books accessible and foster a culture of reading, especially among children.

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