Meet the Maplewood Memorial Library Foundation Board: Akshatha Gopal Shetty

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From the Maplewood Memorial Library Foundation

Akshatha Gopal Shetty

Akshatha Gopal Shetty got used to exploring new worlds at a young age.  She was born in a small-town near Udupi in India, and her father’s job took her and her family to Bangalore, Mumbai and other cities, never staying in one place for more than three years. As a child, her mother often distracted her with fairy tales to coax her into eating.

Soon, she fell in love with reading. Relying on her school’s libraries, Akshatha read between classes and on her commute to and from school. Her appetite for reading exceeded her school’s one book a week check-out policy and soon she was begging her parents to buy her more books, and after devouring those, reading her mother’s magazines from cover to cover.

“I want my daughter to experience the same joys of reading that I did; the ability to slip into different worlds. Being able to laugh or cry with a good book is priceless,” she says.

What was a book that changed your life?

I like to think every book I have read has changed my life in a small way. But if I had to name one, it’s The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. If I had to recommend one book to someone who would like to change their life for the better, it would be Atomic Habits by James Clear. When the pandemic hit, I read the full volume of Arabian Nights. I want to call that a divine masterpiece; it brought back so many memories from my childhood.

Why did you join the Foundation?

I always had a calling to do more for society. Someone once said if you want to change the world, start at home. I am proud to call Maplewood my home and when this opportunity came to join the Library Foundation Board, I was thrilled, as this is something I am passionate about. Libraries have touched and changed so many lives for the better and as long as we have libraries we have hope for the future. 

What updates to the library are you most excited about?

I am most excited about the children’s reading room where I can bring my toddler for storytime. I also look forward to attending events at the community room and enjoying our memorial park view from its floor-to-ceiling windows with a great book in my hand.


The Maplewood Memorial Library Foundation is building a 21st Century library that is Open For All. To learn more information about the Maplewood Memorial Library Foundation or to donate, please visit our website at

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