A £1,400 collection of Malayalam books is now available to borrow from the Central Library.

A special celebration event was held yesterday to welcome the books to the library’s language section.

Malayalam is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India, and has official language status in Kerala, where it is widely spoken.

There are about 104 languages spoken in Swindon, Malayalam being one of the languages on the rise in the area.

Roy Stephen, president of the Wiltshire Malayalee Association, said: “It has taken a whole year of work to be able to bring them to the library and it’s nice to see that they are now here.

“The Wiltshire Malayalee Association has been going since 2001 and we have been working to start a library since then so that people can read and learn.”

The association applied for a grant from the Community Foundation for Wiltshire and Swindon, which provided £500 to help the association start the collection.

Roy said: “The rest of the money was raised by the rest of the community, who all worked really hard to raise the money.”

After the collection was brought together the association approached Swindon Libraries to house them.

Roy said: “You can’t keep a library in your home so we approached the library and asked if they would house them for us.

“People can then come and go to the library and it will encourage people to integrate into the wider community as well.”

The new books will expand the already established selection of foreign language books available at the Central Library.

Glenda O’Connor, manager at the Central Library, said: “We’re really pleased to host it here. We already have quite a collection in our foreign language section, which these will add to.

“We hope the new collection will encourage more people from the community to use their library and expand their knowledge.”

Jobe Michael, a church minister from India, inaugurated the new collection.

The unveiling was followed by a tour around the library.

To find out more about the Wiltshire Malayalee Association visit www.wmauk.co.uk.