Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Library Setup - First Steps

One of the major reasons our kids are reading much below their supposed grade level is that their exposure to print after they leave school is almost negligible. Their only print sources are their school textbooks. No newspapers, no comics. Textbooks can be boring and some of their content is too high for independent reading. Some of them just do not inspire interest. 

Last year, Anish and I had participated in the Give India challenge where we wanted to raise money for our classrooms. Multiple people stepped forward and contributed generously. A lot of them contributed with books and stationery. Students of Bombay International school went ahead and even conducted a drive for us. They collected so much that I was overloaded with material. The auto-driver was scared that these big cartons wouldn't fit. We got Childcraft series, encyclopedias, story books, puzzles and novels.
Seeing all these books in a heap in my room, I kept pondering about a system to make all of this accessible to my students. I couldn't just go about handing books randomly in class. Where's the accountability? There's no way for me to see how much the kids have learnt. That's when I decided that I want to open a place where all these books are visible and accessible. They learn to read for pleasure, for information and on their own.

We did research, spoke to parents and searched for places in the slum to open a library. Accessibility was a major concern since people are apprehensive about sending kids (especially girls) in some farther parts. So was protection from rain (flooding and leakage). After months of deliberation, hunting and talks, we have finally decided upon a place. It's very close to school on the first floor. It's not very big. Maybe 10 X 15 feet.  
A coat of paint is definitely in order. We need to install a couple of tube-lights

We need to decide about layout. Too many questions. Cupboards, lockers or shelves? Tall shelves which next to the walls to increase seating or small, movable shelves for easy access? It has slabs for a kitchen which cannot be removed which we'll use as a table. 
Once we get this done, organizing books is something that I am really looking forward to. Though cataloging them doesn't look too tempting. We also need to decide on lists of magazines and newspapers that we'll get. Suggestions for children's magazines/newspapers are most welcome. Times of India is not allowed. :) 

Again, a big thanks to all the donors who contributed financially, in kind and in effort. Updates will be there when we get the library up and running. As you would expect, running a library is going to require money and man-hours. The rent for the place is almost Rs.3000 per month. The security deposit is Rs.30,000. Painting and layout costs extra. While I will be happy if you opened this blog once in a while, we need all the support we can get. If you would like to contribute in any capacity or have further queries, my email is prachur.goel2011@teachforindia.org

Let the show begin!

Part 2 is up. It's a photostory!
  1. We have signed the lease and are in-charge of this place starting today :-D
  2. One of my friends has agreed to bear the rent post October this year. Another good friend is sponsoring Rs.10,000 for other miscellaneous expenditures. 
These contributions really come to our help and we need a lot of those. All over the country.

There are a couple of new pictures.

A Better picture of the room

View from the outside. The orange door is the entrance and then a narrow flight of stairs.

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