That too simply because it takes a lot of commitment and effort to do this.
Libraries are the epicentre of learning and, hence, are perfect for trying out new ideas and innovations. Sadly, however, many schools don’t pay adequate attention to innovative practices or make attempts to initiate students into the world of books. That too simply because it takes a lot of commitment and effort to do this.
Dalbir Kaur Madan, a reading specialist who runs OneUp Library, Bookstudio and Learning Lab, started one such initiative to help schools facilitate students with a proper library by reinventing the entire space. Madan believes that a child requires specialised guidance to help them in the processes of reading. She says, “The vision I came up with was that we need to nurture reading among children and build interest so that children are curious about things and they would like to read and learn more. Being a part of the society, we should ensure and create spaces in schools, homes and in libraries. And by the time they are 18, they will have a love for learning.”
Speaking of the challenges she faces with the initiative, Madan says, “Most of the libraries you see are either are run by the government or are very small and never run at an individual level. So you see how difficult it is to make people interested in libraries because most of them think the library as a just an issuing and return thing. It is a challenge to make people understand how important libraries can be.”
Madan is a guide who conducts teachers and librarian workshops in schools and advises that libraries should take to innovate, and initiate non-readers. She continues, “We do a consultancy where I curate books for the library. We also do design reading programmes and conduct the Bandana Sen Library Awards, which is named after my mentor, who was one of the most visionary librarians in India. Through this award, we want to connect the community of librarians and draw the attention of the school community to one sacred space called the library, which today requires nurturing and nourishment. It is the only space that doesn’t bind a child into any sort of assessment and celebrates learning.”
The process of picking the right books for a library is also an important one. “We conduct reading surveys. We talk to people personally and try to understand their lifestyle by asking about their favourite food, movies and what sort of books will interest them,” she explains. She firmly believes that no one is ‘not a reader’. “A child needs to just find the right book for themselves. Then they also turn into bibliophiles. So, I find 10 right books for them and their journey can be changed towards their reading,” she concludes.