No Net, no phone? fret not just head to a library round the corner

Children making use of a street library in Pirattiyur near Tiruchi.  

For the underprivileged students in villages in Manikandam block in Tiruchi district with no access to the internet and online classes, the concept of street libraries conceived by the Block Education Officer seems to hold promise for sustenance of academic activities.

One such library established in Pirattiyur has received a good patronage, and it has been planned to establish similar ones across Manikandam block.

The idea was conceived when teachers found it difficult to reach students whose parents would either take their phones and go to work or those who could not afford to purchase smartphones with internet access, said K. Marudhanayagam, Manikandam Block Education Officer. “While we were trying to organise ways to encourage learning among children amid the pandemic, we realised that many could not access online classes. While some children had access to a smart phone, it belonged to their father who would take it with him to work. Children who are eager to learn must not lose out for no fault of theirs,” he said.

The street library will help the children to cultivate reading habit, understand borrowing and lending, improve their reading level and also learn and share knowledge with their near and dear ones, Mr. Marudhanayagam said.

Six such libraries, with 300 books each, have been established in Pirattiyur. “While we have stocked the library with autobiographies, novels and educational books, our students have recommended books that they would like to read. We will stock those books too,” K. Asha Rani, Headmistress, Panchayat Union Middle School, Pirattiyur, said. “Many children even brought their parents and grandparents along to read, which took us by surprise,” she said.

It works like any other lending library where students may borrow any book and return it after reading. However, there are no fees or late fine. “The students can read the book at the library, or take it home and read it,” Ms. Rani said.

The libraries have been set up near the homes of students who study at the panchayat union school. “With the cooperation of the parents, the libraries are kept outside some students’ houses, while some are also kept at the entrance of houses where there is vacant space,” Ms. Rani said.

All books were donated by well-wishers, Mr. Marudhanayagam said. “We are planning more libraries and require donations. Many donors brought vauable books and handed them over to us. The children will make best use of them,” he said. Books for older children, and for youth attempting competititve examinations too, will be stocked soon.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 11:01:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/no-net-no-phone-just-head-to-a-library-round-the-corner/article32698030.ece

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