The idea for the Lakmahal Community Library came from two things. First, it came from a love of reading. As a child I used to inhale books, but in my teenage and college years I had gotten out of reading. In 2017, picked up my love of reading again when I graduated from college and moved to a new city in the US. The time I spent in my city’s library and at the bookstore, Politics and Prose, inspired me.

Second, the idea came from a love of Lakmahal, a home I had grown up going in and out of, a place whose inhabitants loved to read. Lakmahal, built by my great grandparents, was where my mother and grandmother grew up, but I always associated it more with my grandfather. My grandfather always encouraged reading and would lend books to everyone (sometimes he would even lend books that didn’t belong to him and the books’ owners would never see them again!).

After my grandfather died, Lakmahal was divided among the family. When I returned from the US, I was faced with our empty section, the living and dining rooms and verandas–the part of the house that had once been the liveliest with people. I wanted to do something that would help me share my love of reading while honouring the legacy of what Lakmahal used to be. I hope that this community library can fulfil that legacy.

Anisha Dias Bandaranaike, Founder