The saga of the open library at the Guddahatti school continues. Already there is so much for us all to learn.
Abhimanyu, Ini, her sister, Indu, Dhee and old-young student, Tanu and I took on activities at the school last Saturday. The things we did seemed too simple at one level but as I shared with ShashiKumar, the ground for a successful open library has to be laid very very slowly. Children at any location need to experience and assimilate what it really means to have an open library. Just telling them and leaving it open results in chaos as they discovered just that morning.
So we began with four simple activities after explaining what each of them were for.
- Making of mobiles through origami. Abhimanyu as the master. (Both activity and A were a great hit! This was to make the library location attractive and inviting so that children want to come in there.
- Making shelf labels and colour coding the books according to their subjects. Choice of subjects was made by teachers and students together. This took off very well under the calm and able guidance of Ini. This activity helped the children to see that they could find their needs, browse and also replace the books when they are done. They realised. I feel, the value of participation in decision making and ownership of the library.
- A large colourful poster to show the key to the colour coding. Tanu and Indu took this on and it was amazing to see how quickly Tanu had a group of 12 children combining to make the poster while she sat on the outer fringe relaxed and yet aware. Indu turned out to be a very committed worker with great attention to detail in label-making. This helped in making the place bright and also educated the users on how to search for material.
- Dhee willingly took on the activity of strengthening book spines and covers with cellotape. A bit of a thankless job but very soon we could spot those who had the flair and the inclination. This activity was to reiterate the importance of caring for the books.
- Younger children from each group who were not able to do the activity were taken on by me to create book ads of their favourite reading. These colourful charts were then put up on the walls.
So all in all, I feel that by using children to do these library-related activities with the Guddahatti children, there was a learning that these are important and enjoyable things to do enroute to having a truly functioning open library. Intangible learning which will have to be reinforced every now and then but a good start was made.
Now next they will go on to book talks and other book-related activities as we go deeper into the use of the library!!