Yes, the Library is a centre of modern-day pedagogical teaching of every educational institution. The curricula, too, emphasize the development of skills and conceptual knowledge with the Library being the centre of the learning journey. Heads of schools also resonate with the idea of the importance of libraries. Many schools are beginning to invest time and money in developing and upskilling teachers to meet the present academic needs of the students. That is commendable! But aren’t they forgetting the Library & the Librarian who is meant to be the centre of an Education System?
With less emphasis on rote learning and attention on the relevant, skill-based, and contextual connection to the real world, it is now more than any other time in India that Libraries need to become competent, creating better learning pathways. Textbooks are being replaced by literature and nonfiction books to meet the curriculum. Many progressive educational Institutions are investing in creating beautiful physical Library space. Still, the physical space without a relevant, open-minded, broad subject-based spectrum of resources, both print, and digital to meet the needs of every learner, is like beautiful paper flowers. Yes, it is an expensive investment, but that is what is required to build the literacy of every child.
Very often, I hear adults saying that students are not reading. However, one should also remember that NOBODY can be forced to read. It needs to be an intrinsic need! How can you ask children or even adults to read when the content is inadequate, boring, and irrelevant. A well-developed contemporary collection will reflect students’ lives and imaginations, enticing them to read. There is an upsurge of great modern English Literature in the children’s domain in India. Now is the perfect time for students to engage in all kinds of literature from India.
Complementing the collection, an enthusiastic Librarian can play an essential role in making connections and befriending the book with the child by understanding the likes and dislikes of the children. Librarians can introduce students to a variety of genres. It is not the JOB of the Librarian alone to encourage reading; teachers, parents, and of course, the ethos of the educational institutions is necessary to promote reading. Reading is a habit that needs to be developed and nurtured. Just like physical exercise – little bits of regular activities can help one become fit. Similarly, consistency and sustaining the habit of reading will help students and adults become readers and writers. Reading and writing are like Rice and Daal; both can be nurtured together to build the intellect, heart, and soul.
Administrators are recognizing the need to nurture and support professional development for teachers, but aren’t they forgetting the Librarians? Aren’t Librarians required to boost the LIBRARY CENTER? Shouldn’t they be given the necessary professional development support and help to hone their teaching skills to match the current practices and pedagogy of their teacher colleagues? Shouldn’t they be invited to the teacher/staff meeting? Shouldn’t they be allowed to explore their creativity to collaborate and support reading and writing within the curriculum while building the relevant collection for the Library that supports the school’s curriculum?
In my opinion, the Library must become a chill-out zone for students to find comfort and joy in reading and writing, expressing themselves. They must use the Library to explore their interests and learning. For teachers, it must provide them with the necessary resources to teach effectively. For the parent community, it must be an avenue to enrich their lives and build the community.
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