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School libraries have it all

P. SUJATHA VARMA
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Event It's time to gauge your erudition quotient as the world observes October as International School Library Month

Choose your pick A library can be the best place and a book can be your best friend Photo: Anu Pushkarna
Choose your pick A library can be the best place and a book can be your best friend Photo: Anu Pushkarna

S he liked newspapers stacked in neat rows. She pushed in chairs and spoke in quiet…nay… almost hushed tone. Her sharp eyes would peep from behind the thick rimmed spectacles perched firmly on her slightly crooked nose.

That was Jaya maam, our school librarian.

In the later years, I realised that almost everybody of her ilk displayed striking similarities while manning the quiet zone.

The eerie silence in the library room was a constant temptation for pranksters to make use of the space for some harmless fun.

If it was yoga class and the climate outside was sultry, the library room would be the best option to barge in, pick a few books, place them close to your face and break into girlie giggles leaving the librarian gawking at you in annoyance.

We would even make up titles to books and insist that we saw them on the best sellers' list.

When an exasperated librarian would try to sshhhhh us, we would pull a chair in front of her and plonk our heads into bulky stuff, not allowing her to see what it was all about. There were umpteen occasions when we asked for recommended book suggestions but refused every one of them.

Resourceful zone

The tomfoolery in no way was meant to undermine the significance or the sanctity associated with the place. Not all days were spent whiling away precious time in this highly resourceful zone. We also spent quality time poring over stuff that helped a great deal in academic pursuit as well as in grooming our overall personality. Repository of knowledge, school libraries have changed significantly over the years.

This is because of social development and an evolutionary progression brought about by change in information exchange.

Libraries increasingly must provide students with instruction in the information literacy skill set that the students need to navigate in today's digital world.

To accomplish this mission, all school libraries should have feasible goals and objectives pertaining to technology requirements.

Unique opportunity

October is International School Library Month (ISLM). Earlier, the world celebrated International School Library Day on the last Monday of October every year. But the International School Library Day just got bigger and grew in size to be ISLM in 2008. The ISLM theme for 2010 is “Diversity Challenge Resilience: School Libraries Have it All”.

The month provides a unique opportunity to school libraries across the world to share with each other their best resources of learning.

It brings the ‘temples of learning' closer and allows them to be part of the global community.

The month also provides a platform to promote the role of the school library by inculcating in its pupils the habit of reading and imbibing information literacy and lifelong learning.

Today when I look back, I feel a strong urge to turn the clock back and undo the range of strategies unleashed in our library room that we had almost reduced to a pranksters' haven.

P. SUJATHA VARMA

school libraries have changed significantly over the years

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