'School libraries must to instil reading habit'

There is a need to push for a section for provision of libraries and the material required under the rules and guidelines of Right to Education Act, said activists and librarians at a seminar on importance of libraries held here on Saturday.

“The RTE Act has given just a line saying libraries are a must across schools but has not elaborated on the requirements. A separate library period of 50 minutes should be made compulsory at least once a week,” said Anjali Naronha from Eklavya NGO, Bhopal.

 “Libraries should have newspapers and magazines to instil good reading habits among children,” she said.

The seminar was organised by the National Book Trust in association with India International Centre on “Reading and library culture and role of NGOs.”

Naronha added that educationists should suggest to the government that at least five books per child at the primary level and 10 books at the middle-school level will help instil the reading habit among children.

“An annual per child budgeting for books rather than one-time school budgeting is a better proposition,” she added.

Others said even young children should be encouraged to read by bringing in more
variety.

Sharpen sensibility

“We need teachers who can instil the love of literature among children as it increases tolerance and patience,” said Soli J Sorabjee, president of IIC.

 “Reading sharpens our sensibility and sensitivity but unfortunately promoting reading is not a priority of our government,”

While most of them said children books are available, quality is a major concern.

“Library period has vanished in government schools which we are trying to revive through collaborations. But we need to improve the quality of children’s books published today,” said Jaya Acharya from Room to Read NGO.

To ensure better facilities at libraries in schools, communities and institutions, activists suggested that a mandate for training of teachers and librarians is the need of the hour.

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