(Manisha Devi| Senior Program Officer - Library Program)
We are all well aware of the benefits of the library and its use. The library is considered an important source of learning for children. Mainly if we see, the library is divided into these 6 parts. The people associated with the library, coordination and communication between them, library collection, activities, and management of the library. For a library to function/run properly, we must keep working on these 6 parts.
If you were asked what is the most important thing in a library for you, what would you say? According to me, one of the most important things in a children’s library is the dialogue which helps in making it a vibrant library.
The library works to make the children good readers and to learn with understanding, to be able to speak or express their ideas, to create new experiences, and to learn new things. For this, there must be communication in the library. In the library, the interaction between the librarian and the children, and among the children proves to be very beneficial. It helps in connecting children with books and the library. There are many ways in which we can create a dialogue/communication/interaction space in a library. When thinking about creating a dialogue space in the library, we should keep in mind that it’s the librarian's responsibility to initiate the dialogue in the library.
First of all, let us know about the children – knowing about children can solve many problems for the librarian. In the beginning, there is a lot of hesitation in the children. So, the librarian must create a space of communication for the children. We can discuss books with them, can talk to their parents, and get to know about the children from the class teacher.
Second, children should visit the library regularly – to connect the children with the library, the children must come to the library regularly. For this, you can prepare a timetable for the children of all classes.
Next, children’s ownership – if the children have ownership in the library, they can easily connect with the library. Here children’s ownership means that it’s the children’s space. Therefore, children can participate in many decisions related to the library. There are many ways you can work on children’s ownership. One of them is that we constitute a library management committee (LMC) in the library. This committee consists of two children from each class and the committee help in managing and running/operation the library.
Next, children’s participation in making rules for the library- sometimes the rules of the library become a hindrance in communication/interaction. But this does not mean that the library should not have rules. Library rules are as important as communication in the library. We just have to see the library rules once and find if any rule is becoming a hindrance for the children. For this, we can try that while making the rules of the library, children should also participate in it.
The most important part is the activities in the library – the activities are very important to create a dialogue space in the library. For this, it is necessary to know why and for what we are doing the activity. In the library, we do different types of activities. Like – read aloud, storytelling, poetry, craft, book discussions, drama and book talk, etc. With these activities, we try to interact with children and know their responses/ideas/thoughts. So, it is important to do activities with children regularly. The activities in the library give ample opportunities to the children and librarian to interact. In that case, the communication can take place orally as well as in writing.
All these things helped me a lot in connecting the children to the library and building dialogues.