Libraries Lets Make Them Happening Places in our Schools

Posted by Dr. Rashmi Kumbar | 23rd November 2017

Libraries: Let’s Make Them Happening Places in our Schools!
From clay tablets to machine printed words to e-books – writing has changed many modes. But motive remains the same - that of conveying thoughts through various evolutionary methods and equipment. 
The skill of reading printed word begins at childhood and goes well beyond adulthood. Enhancing of this skill takes place at various levels - at home with parents, in the class room with teacher and at library with the librarian. Therefore, home, school and library environment plays an important role in motivation reading. 
School is the first step in the journey of education. Naturally school library plays pivotal role in developing reading habit among students. Research shows that a school librarian leads students to books and reading, successfully converting them to lifelong readers. Various strategies can be used in motivating students to take up reading as a virtue rather than a habit. 
Schools which stress on compulsory library periods can make the most of their library collection. Ideally every school should design the time table in such a way that each class gets minimum two library periods in a week. The first library period can be allotted as the issue/return period. The second library period can be the library activity period to optimize students’ reading base. Some suggested activities in this direction are:
Loud Reading:
This activity can involve the librarian reading once a week to students of primary section. It can also comprise of book presentations, reviews and reports. A student or a group of students can select a book and read it thoroughly and present the contents to their classmates in the library. 
Silent Individual Reading:
This library activity period can be designated for silent reading by the students. Here the students can pick up the reading material of their choice and read individually. 
Cooperative or Participative Reading:
This activity involves the grouping of students and be seated accordingly, in the library Then these groups can be assigned a task based on a particular genre of resources. For example, solving puzzles, quiz, playing library treasure hunt, book interviews, etc. 
Written Assignment based on Reading:
This activity of teaching information and library skills to the students can start with introduction of different parts of the book, fiction and non-fiction, different types of reference sources and their use, identifying the main elements of a story, reports on biographies, classification system used in the library, etc. The students can be encouraged to maintain a library journal for the same.
Creating Awareness about Various Reading Materials:
Library Orientation at the start of the academic year, gives the students a fair idea as to what is available in the collection, how is it organized and how to access the collection. Exposing students to varied types of reading materials like books, magazines, newspapers, databases, etc. in the library equips to handle their information needs without much intervention by the teachers or parents. Helping the students to choose the right books is very important. Insisting the students to check the blurb, the font size, the table of contents, etc. will result in them choosing the right books. 
Reading Programmers and Events:
Another major initiative that can motivate reading in school libraries is the reading programmers. Celebrating events like International School Library Month, World Book Day, International Children’s Literature Day, etc. initiate the students to take up reading in a big way. 
Sincere efforts of the school librarian in inculcating reading as a virtue, by providing right resources to the right student at the right time can make libraries the most happening places in schools!

Dr. Rashmi Kumbar, 
Assistant Professor, School of Library & Information Science, 
Central University of Gujarat

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