How can a library engage families living in informal settlements through ideas and books? Under the theme of Interactive learning, Mridula and Michael talk about Deepalaya Community Library Project that involves and contributes to communities.

The Deepalaya Community Library Project is a library/reading project based in Ramditti J R Narang Deepalaya School in Sheikh Sarai Phase 1, with a recent second branch in the Deepalaya School in Sanjay Colony, Okhla. The Project has its roots in a volunteer-run after school reading program which began in 2008. The library itself was built over the course of the 2010/11 school year through the efforts of Mridula and Michael along with volunteers from the American Embassy School. It has been supported since then by many local community members and publishers, evolving into a community library serving working class or poor students. The program today operates as a lab for developing and testing different ways of engaging and involving communities with little or no access or experience with books, with the aim to contribute to a larger library movement.

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Mridula Koshy works as a community organizer at the Deepalaya Community Library Project. She is also a well-known writer whose most recent book Bicycle Dreaming (Speaking Tiger) draws from her work in the library project. Her previous works include the novel Not Only the Things That Have Happened and a short story collection, If It Is Sweet.

​Michael Creighton is a teacher with 19 years experience working in a wide variety of settings ranging from classrooms for 5-7 year-olds with autism to programs serving High School students in custody for US federal immigration violations. Currently he teaches middle school at the American Embassy School in New Delhi and volunteers as the curriculum coordinator at the Deepalaya Community Library Project.