Anaik Sachdev

Anaik Sachdev started the Loving Library so kids and adults could use books to escape their worlds. The program became so popular that it gained national attention.

 

Anaik Sachdev’s passion for reading, along with his philanthropic spirit, prompted him to act when his mother contracted COVID two years ago.

“I felt sad and anxious during that time,” he explained. “Reading became a way for me to escape the sense of isolation.”

Now, the Kiva fourth-grader is on a mission to promote love and kindness through books. He created the Loving Library program, which provides free books to patients in underserved hospitals and homeless shelters. 

“Each book has a sticker inside with the Loving Library logo,” Anaik said. “It reminds them that they are cared for and loved by people outside the hospital.” 

After returning home, the family got another jolt of unwelcoming news – his grandmother also had to be hospitalized. Realizing the nourishment books provided him under stress and isolation, Anaik instinctively knew they would do the same for his grandmother. 

“She loved getting the books and having an escape,” he said.

When the family was fully recovered, they thought about how they could help others in similar situations. To kick off the program, they contacted Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

“At her suggestion, we partnered with Valleywise Hospital, which serves a low-income population. Then, I created an Amazon Wish List for the library. We also partnered with Changing Hands Bookstore and reviewed the wish list on their website,” mom Anjleen Gumer said.

From there, it was all about getting the word out. 

The Loving Library is a family affair when it comes to marketing. Mom works as the executive director and manages fundraising, operations and administration. 

Anaik and his brother, Jovin, wrote lyrics to rap songs and Anaik enthusiastically sang and danced to them on social media in hopes of reaching a wider audience of donators.

The family’s efforts paid off in a big way. Last year, Anaik was a guest on the Ellen Show and was also interviewed by Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News and Good Morning America.

The library has since taken on a life of its own and serves a broader swath of the community. Books are now available to underprivileged children in hospitals and at Circle the City, a homeless medical clinic. 

“The guests at the shelter told us they were so grateful for the books, as there is only so much television they can watch,” Gumer said. “We wound up giving them 1,000 books. Our goal is to provide 3,000 books to Valleywise – so far, we’ve delivered 250 to the pediatric unit.”

The family has ambitious plans for the future, including opening locations in Texas and Florida – and even taking it worldwide, as the United Kingdom and Singapore have also expressed interest in the program.

lovinglibrary.org