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Well Read!

The Colombo branch of the British Council Sri Lanka (BC) is the only one within their global library network to have the largest library membership with a whopping 22,000 members. "Together with the Kandy branch, the total number of memberships for British Council Sri Lanka is 26, 000" said Pulsara Goonewardena, the Manager Business Development (Library Services) of the British Council.

Commemorating 60th anniversary of the British Council Sri Lanka this year, they are planning on revealing a delectable surprise for book lovers and readers. In the words of the famous English writer, John Milton, "Reading maketh a man" and it should be emphasised that reading and writing are not just vital life skills. It is all about power - the power of the imagination, the power of acquiring messages through literature and also the power to gather and share ideas that can influence your train of thought. There is another power connected to reading as it gives you knowledge which is also power. So by reading, you are powerful and this makes you a leader!

Keeping this in mind, the British Council is organising the 'Colombo British Book Fair 2009' (CBBF) that will be held from the 18th until the 20th of June. In lieu of their goals, by bridging the gap between people around the world with learning opportunities and creative ideas from the UK, they also build and strengthen long-standing relationships between UK and Sri Lanka.

Many entertaining events have been set up by British Council's enthusiastic library team to give book enthusiasts the better joys of reading. The 'Festival of colours' is an art competition for children between the ages of 5 to 15 years supervised by children's artist and writer Sybil Wettasinghe.

The theme will revolve around 'People, places and events' under the Sri Lankan or UK scenario. Sponsored by 'Homerun Pas', fabulous prizes will be on offer for the winners and their work will be displayed at the British Council. Hence, it is important to stimulate creativity with art by complimenting the fine art of reading where you can travel the whole world in a little book.

A fabulous yummy event will be 'Cooking with Koluu' done by Colombo's happy-go-lucky chef Koluu who is sure to tantalise anyone's tastebuds with a special Thai cookery demonstration with even an event for kids, sponsored by 'Ma's Tropical Food Products' and 'Singer Sri Lanka'.

An interactive quiz competition titled 'Grammar Quest 2009' will be held between 23 leading schools in Colombo with one from Rathnapura.

The goal of the quiz is to improve the participant's knowledge of English Grammar while developing team work and leadership qualities.

The CBBF will also have local booksellers who will sell books at a nominal price and those who buy over Rs.1500/- worth of books are eligible for a discounted membership at the British Council Library. Having a BC membership is certainly worth its weight in gold because they have a majority of all UK publications and a multitude of UK authors. Pulsara said, "The library is divided into three sections - Lending, English Learning and the Young Learner's Zone". She further added, "In the English Learning zone, we have a special 'Teacher's Corner' which helps and equips English teachers with the required teaching material for their job".

Giving a library tour was Shiroma Benaragama, the manager of the Library and Information Services explained, "We give free Internet access for our members and they even come here to prepare for various exams like IELTS (International English Language Testing System) as about 50% of our membership base encompass students".

The library also has an extensive DVD lending library that range from classics to the latest movies and video tapes that are lent for institutional members for specialist studies.

"We have the latest periodicals and magazines where members sit and read which give a good insight of real UK lifestyles" she said.

The fun Young Learner's Zone has computer terminals for young members to use and special children's movie screenings on Saturdays.

"For a nominal rate of Rs.1600 per year, you can be a member of the British Council and we even have special book reading sessions and creative workshops where our members can channel their creative energies into instead of just being a bookworm!" said Pulsara.

The British Council library also celebrates special occasions like World Book Day and International Reading Day with a good book!

Secretary of the Foreign Affairs ministry, Dr. Palitha Kohona is the chief guest for this year's Book Fair and will emphasise more on the power of reading.

So make sure that you don't miss out the book-loving action at the 'Colombo British Book Fair 2009'!

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