We have recently worked on a Manual for Running a Library, which you may download from here. The introduction is posted here.
A school without an open and active library is like an organism with no core.
S.R. Ranganathan, the founder of the library movement in India calls the school library,
“Truly the heart of the school. Stimulating currents go out of it into every corner of the school.”
Can this be done in each and every school, however big or small? Yes it can, provided you, the teachers and your students bring your energy and enthusiasm to making it happen.
Why is it so crucial for every school to have an open, accessible library for the students and teachers to use freely?Knowledge is everyone’s birthright and it empowers children to be well-informed, free from bias and prejudice. Access to knowledge through reading, listening, viewing and discussing, brings about an intelligent, literate and competent human being. The library can also provide historical, geographical and cultural awareness to readers through well-chosen resources. At a young age, children are full of curiosity and the zest to learn beyond the limits of the school curriculum. A library gives them the opportunity to pursue their thirst for knowledge. Here is the place where independent thinking is nurtured, individual interests are developed and self-confidence grows.
As children grow older, they are faced with many challenges and dilemmas in society. How are they to know what is right? Here too the library can provide ample material in terms of inspiring true stories, biographies and essays by thinkers. Articles by leading intellectuals and scientists can help them to distinguish the true from the false. By providing this open exposure the library can help bring about a well-informed, intelligent and balanced community of young citizens, and the country will be richer in human resources.
When it is begun at a young age, optimum library use and the reading habit can be a lifelong asset. Reading for pleasure has intangible benefits because young people absorb knowledge, values and perspectives with very little effort. School libraries are valuable and effective aids to bring about better learning and higher achievement levels in examinations, competitions and other activities. For teachers, the library is an invaluable tool to keep themselves abreast of factual information and deeper knowledge. They will be better educators and have the confidence of knowing that they are well read and up to date. For the school, the library is an invaluable asset because it can support, reflect and enhance the curriculum.