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Belongg Library Network

The Belongg Library Network is a network of diversity & inclusion focused literary spaces housed in cafes, book libraries, cultural spaces, and bookstores across India. Our goal is to harness the power of literature to foster communities that value and celebrate diversity.

Belongg is a social venture that works at bringing discrimination-free services to people who face bias due to their identity.

We run interrelated initiatives such as

  • Belongg Literature Collective: Brings inclusive libraries, literature festivals focused on diversity and inclusion
  • Belongg Research Collective: Curates research and researchers focused on different aspects of diversity, inclusion, and discrimination
  • Belongg Circle: Curating intersectional experts
  • Belongg Mental Health: Bring together inclusive mental health experts and resources

The Belongg Literature Collective

In a world that is deeply divided along lines of identity, inclusive literature and books provide windows into the lives, struggles, and joys of others, thereby enabling empathetic engagement with and inclusion of those different from ourselves. Diverse literature, thus, is key in amplifying diverse perspectives to create a truly inclusive society.

Through the Belongg Literature Collective, we are building a platform that harnesses the power of inclusive and diverse literature to promote greater understanding, acceptance, and mutual appreciation across the world.

The Belongg Literature Collective comprises interrelated initiatives 

  • Book Readings & Events: Active since mid-2019, we hold regular author events, book readings, film screenings, pot lucks, and open mics themed around inclusive literature and diversity. 
  • Belongg Online Literature Festival: An annual festival that brings together authors and speakers for dialogues on different aspects of diversity and inclusion. The inaugural edition took place in July 2020, lasted over four days, and brought together 30+ panels. 
  • Belongg Library Network: A network of literary spaces across the country focused on diversity and inclusion through literature). In this we host local book and author events as well as a lending library with books on themes ranging form gender, sexuality, feminism, caste, race, immigrants, ethnicity, ability, to prejudice/bias. You can look at this (http://belongg.libib.com) for an illustrative list of titles.
  • Belongg Young Readers Program : A soon to be launched program that will organize book readings and events for children focused on themes of inclusion and diversity (March 2021))

Team

The Belongg Library Network is an initiative of Belongg. You can read more here about the people behind Belongg here

Lasya Nadimpally
Community Manager

Lasya is the Community Manager at Belongg. She travels to learn about people, cultures and societies in an attempt to understand the diversity in the world and her own self a little better every day. She worked as a writer and editor for various publications such as Outlook Traveller Getaways, Sakal Times, Youth Ki Awaaz and Deccan Chronicle. She also volunteers in the organising team of Human Library Delhi, which brings together people and facilitates conversations to break taboos.

Yoshita Srivastava
Literature Collective Associate

Yoshita has a BA from Flame University, with a major in Literary and Culture Studies, a minor in journalism. Her experience spans working in media, publishing, and social justice, with organizations such as The Quint, Orient BlackSwan, and Aasra NGO. She believes inclusivity and diversity in representation is essential for a better future — empathy being key in dismantling hatred. She hopes to research, write, and teach a diverse literary canon. When not buried behind a book, you can find her outraging against patriarchy, drinking unhealthy amounts of coffee, and learning random trivia.

Zinnia Sengupta
Literature Collective Associate

Zinnia studied psychology from Fergusson College, did the Young India Fellowship from Ashoka University and has always dreamed of making the world a kinder, more inclusive place than the one she was raised in. She has written for Pune Mirror, Verve, and other travel & lifestyle publications, and worked closely with several grassroots-level NGOs, like Sang, Vanchit Vikas, etc. Passionate about equal rights and blueberry cheesecake, her biggest muse is human resilience and she wants to make a living listening to, reading and writing stories that matter.

Radhika Shah
Literature Collective Associate

Radhika graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University with a BA in English Literature, Creative Writing, and History. She has previously worked at various digital platforms, publishing houses, literary agencies, and organisations such as the Feminist Press, W. W. Norton and Company, Buzzfeed India, and Jacaranda Literary Agency. She loves the magic of storytelling and is passionate about finding new ways to tell inclusive and diverse stories from around the world. She hopes to continue working in the book world and help build a more equitable and radical future in global publishing and beyond. In her free time, she loves to read geographical and translated literary fiction, write poetry, and cook and eat copious amounts of pasta.

Nirat Bhatnagar
Founder

Nirat is the founder of Belongg and has deep experience in social innovation, entrepreneurship, and strategy. In addition to Belongg, he is also a Partner at Dalberg Advisors where he focuses on strategic questions in water, sanitation, and agriculture. He is also the founder of The Slow School a venture that focuses on self-reflection and “inner work”. He studied at IIT Kharagpur & IIM Bangalore and spent several years in management consulting and technology entrepreneurship before following his heart into the world of social innovation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I join the local Belongg Library chapter?

You can join the appropriate Library chapter by clicking the register button on the home page and filling your details and selecting the Chapter. 

Do I need to pay to be a member?

Becoming a member of the Belongg Library Network is free but we encourage pay-as-you-will contributions on a monthly or annual basis to make the initiative scalable. 

How do I volunteer for the Belongg Library Network?

The Belongg Library network has a growing base of volunteers across the country who are responsible for jointly managing chapter activity and programming and growing their communities with support from the Belongg team. To join our network as a volunteer click either the “Become A Member” button on the home page or “Support A Chapter” button. 

Do you accept book donations?

Yes, we accept book donations. The books we stock in the Belongg library have to be connected to or highlight one of these themes – race, religion, caste, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, ability, identity, and prejudice. We have no restriction on the format or type of books; they could range from fiction to non-fiction; from children’s books to graphic novels; and even cookbooks if they bring forth diversity. You can donate books to our library by clicking here.

You can check out our online catalogue to get an understanding of some of the books we stock: https://belongg.libib.com/

Why should you consider partnering with belongg to open a library chapter?
  • Help promote diversity and inclusion through books and make a difference
  • Expand community engagement and connect with more readers in your city
  • Increase footfall to your space through the Library and associated events
How do we partner with the Belongg Library Network?

Our library network is a community building initiative that aims to talk about diversity, inclusion and identity through books in far corners of the country. If you are a book publisher, a cultural organisation or a corporate network that is interested in partnering with us, you can write to us on library@belongg.net

How do I set up a Belongg Library in my space?

If you have a cafe, bookshop, library or a cultural space that can host a few books (space for 3 shelves) that people can borrow and a physical space (that can hold at least 8 people) where people can periodically come together for events and meet-ups, we can explore the possibility of hosting a Belongg Library chapter. Please write to us at library@belongg.net if you want to discuss this.  

 

Start or Support A Chapter

Contact us if you want to start a chapter in a new city or want to support an existing chapter with financial resources, book donations, or volunteering.

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