On 2 June 2021, I decided to launch Maktaba Books, a peer-to-peer community library in Singapore.
I started it because I liked reading Islamic and Malay studies books but there wasn’t many of them I could find in the public library. I had to buy the books if I wanted to read them. So, after some time I had a tiny collection of it.
But, I realised that my access to books shouldn’t be limited by how much money I had. So I decided to find people like me – liked reading Islamic & Malay books and had a tiny collection of it. I pooled the books together and created a library, a peer-to-peer community library (check us out here).
1 month passed
We now have over 400 organic followers on our Instagram account (I’ll share how we marketed it in another separate post).
We have a total of 350 books in the library with 17 books borrowed. And 3 of them have completed their loans.
We added some new features:
- Buy me a coffee link – to buy the team coffee if users want to thank the team
- Book request – users can suggest books for us to add to the library and upvote books that is on the list
- Book fund – users can donate to fund for the requested books
Now, we also have a team of 3 hardworking volunteers in total to help manage this.
Beefing up the tech
After running it for more than a month, we saw some gaps and we wanted to fix it. And the only way to fix it was with a good tech setup.
While running Maktaba Books, we found that the National University of Singapore Muslim Society (NUSMS) were doing the same thing as us but at a smaller scale – they only offer it to existing students and alumnus of NUS. They had built a website called Getbooked and they managed to automate the process. So we contacted them and scheduled a call to ask them to show us how they did it. They generously agreed.
And now we’re discussing a possible collaboration where they will implement the same exact solution they did for NUSMS for us with minor tweaks to meet our processes and needs.
I am very excited about this. It started off as something that I wanted to do alone and build everything on my own. But now we have a team and we might even have a dev team now.
Alhamdulillah, I’m looking forward to benefiting the community as team with what we are building.