I just came back from Kausani in Uttarakhand where a small library had started in May this year. Well, it is actually in full operation!
The young woman who took on the task of being the ‘librarian’ seems to be born to be one. I sat quietly in a corner and watched her interact with the kids. “Accha, aap yeh ghar le jana chahte hain? teek hai.Kitab ko achi tharah se dekh lena aur vapas jab leke aaoge, aisi hi rahani chahiye.” Another comment was to ask them to relax and browse first and then select the book they want. About 30 to 35 children visit, borrow and return with care.
On my second day, I chatted with the children asking them to tell me why they were borrowing a particular book and so on. Hema also pitched in to say that she would like them to tell her what they liked or did not when they returned the books. Though there are some timings listed for the library, she tells me that the children know they can come in whenever they can. One enthusiastic mother told me that she reads all the books her 9 year old daughter brings home.
The older ones, age 14 and above wanted GK question and answers! Some mothers felt hat this was taking their children away from homework and tuitions. So there are challenges but already with Hema’s co-operation, we have a plan in place. When I visit there again in November, we will have a short interaction with the mothers,telling them how valuable it is for the reading habit to grow, plying them with some Jilebis first. Also we will get some books for the mothers too. The other plan is to put up some flyers in the market area.
Lets see how it works. Meanwhile if any of you visit Kausani, don’t forget to visit the Himjoli shop and check out the Kausani Kishor Kitab Ghar in a corner of the shop. All thanks to Mr. Pankaj Wadhwa for having the vision to house this little library in his outlet.
October 14th 2012.