Kochi Children’s Library
We established the Kochi Children’s Library in December of 1999. We are the frrst library which is managed by NPO in Japan. Our motto is to create children-friendly environments and hand-select children’s books which can be passed from generation to generation.
At first, we worried how long we would be able to run a library without yielding any profits. Despite facing many financial difficulties, we decided to bear the responsibility of managing a non-profit library so that children could have a place to come and find their favorite books.
For the past 12 years, we have managed to continue the Children’s Library. Yet it would not have been possible had it not been for the countless precious encounters over the years. These encounters have come in many shapes from various people to various books. Our greatest encounter came in the shape of “barrier-free picture books.”
There are many picture books, but barrier-free picture books are specifically designed for children with disabilities. Using Braille or incorporating pictures of sign-language, some also include the scent of written objects in the book. Children and parents can choose their books with ease as all books are written according to reading levels with easy-to-read sentences.
We thought: what a find! Surprised by the discovery of barrier-free picture books, we wished to introduce these books to all children. However, we are only a small-scale organization run by a staff of three and there were some limits to undertaking a large project. So instead, we held a showing about barrier-free picture books of the world at various events including book festivals.
We held three events in 2004, 2007, and 2011. Each time, we were amazed by the various picture books we encountered which confirmed our opinion that these books needed to be introduced to more people.
Last year, thanks to funding from Red Feather Campaign, we were able to purchase cloth-made books which we had only previously been able to borrow for our picture book events. We have also set up a new area on the first floor where children with disabilities and their parents can play comfortably.
We will do our best in continuing our efforts to pass these wonderful books to as many children as possible and hope you will follow us in our endeavors. Thank you.
This post is aloso available in: Japanese