Books and Libraries

Open air libraries, school library, rooms within communities functioning as libraries, and even where we don’t see it as a library intervention, we use books and articles (fiction and non-fiction) in almost all our programs and activities with people of different age groups! For the smaller children, it is an introduction to the world of text and imagery in books, and as you grow older, it is an aid to literacy, fluency as much as opening up the unfamiliar and the familiar worlds. A good book can help you understand yourself as much as it can take you to another’s world. Horizons open up as information and imagination reach us through the stories.

Read Alouds from Picture Books – Teachers and library facilitators read out stories to their group participants, particularly when they are not yet fully literate. Showing the images, emphasizing on phrases and words, eliciting responses as we move ahead becomes a technique to draw children into the world of meaning making through pictures and tone.

Reading Chapter Books and Novels – Children and youth are supported in moving to texts that require another level of concentration and perseverance. Using bookmarks, reflecting back on the story and moving to the next section,
Nirantar’s Yuva Shrankhala or the Duckbill Hole Series as well as ‘blue…’ have been hot books in our library sets for building young readers’ interest in chapter books.
As two groups hesitatingly started the novels, ‘The Kite Runner’ and ‘Jhoothan’, we could see that the story took over soon enough and they were eagerly waiting for the next class and the next chapter. Some of the students would take the book and read at night, waiting to share with their classmates what had happened next.

Books for Building Understanding – Story books have been employed for generating discussions on issues of sexuality, gender, death, war, migration, caste, tribal displacement, amongst many such matters of social and personal concern. As children and young people discuss these matters, there is an improved understanding towards someone who is not like you. A critical discussion on spending on war or experiences of mental health sometimes seem beyond the scope of a 12 year old’s mind, but then as these concepts are simplified and related to their experiences around them, it contributes to building thinking on things that have seemed beyond them.
“Should Guthli have been allowed to wear a frock? Why?”
“What do you feel about Esakki Muthu’s response to the landlord?”
“What should the government have done so that Jamlo did not have to die?”

Critically examining texts – What do you like about the story? How would you have ended it? Which character were you drawn to? Whose story is this? Where is this story located? Who do you think the author is? As young readers review the stories, they learn to examine the content and ponder over it than merely absorbing it.

Taking books home – Children are encouraged to issue books to read on their own at home. Sometimes, a story becomes a favourite of a certain centre and there is a booking. Some books become a favourite in the whole family.