Nearly 3,600 books worth Rs.2,40,000 distributed across the city

Even as many schools lacked space for library, the Madurai Corporation on Tuesday distributed library books to its schools to develop the reading habit among students.

Nearly 3,600 books worth Rs.2,40,000 were distributed, which were received by headmasters and headmistresses of 24 corporation schools across the city. Each school got around 150 books.

Addressing the event, Mayor V.V. Rajan Chellappa said that the purpose of bringing students and teachers together from different schools was to ensure a wider reach of the benefits of reading books.

“I appeal to all students to make the best use of these books that have been given to their schools. It is extremely beneficial when books like these are available at schools so that students learn more,” he said.

Corporation Commissioner R. Nanthagopal also stressed the importance of reading and hoped that it would open multiple doors of opportunities for the students.

While the students and Principals of the Corporation schools agreed that the books were a welcome addition to their classrooms, a few of them also spoke about the lack of fully functional libraries in the schools.

“There is no library in our school since there is no space or a designated librarian,” said the headmistress of a corporation school.

“Most private schools have separate reading rooms equipped with bookcases and furniture and infrastructure like this for our schools will be useful,” she added.

Of the 66 corporation schools in Madurai, only one school has a fully functional library that was inaugurated last year. However, Education Committee Chairperson Suganthi Ashok, told The Hindu that plans were under way to convert a school on South Veli Street into a library.

“There are hardly a couple of primary students in the school. We will make sure that they are enrolled in another school. There is a plan to convert the space into a library for students of all corporation schools in the city,” she said and added that another school in Narimedu had been identified for the same.

A few schools, however, which had the space for reading rooms, had a different story to tell. “We have rooms with bookshelves that we use as a library. Teachers are assigned to lend books to students either before or after school hours,” said Vasantha Pazhanirajan, headmistress of the Bharathiar Corporation Higher Secondary School.

When asked about the loss of interest in reading due to excessive pressure on students to perform well in academics, Ms Vasantha said “We make it a point to tell students during the daily prayer to read and encourage them to borrow books.”

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