School libraries have been a subject of policy
recommendations for a long time, but a functioning
library in the school continues to be a rarity. It is
important that future planning treats the library as an
essential component of the school at all levels. Both
teachers and children need to be motivated and trained
to use the library as a resource for learning, pleasure,
and concentration. The school library should be
conceptualised as an intellectual space where teachers,
children and members of the community can expect
to find the means to deepen their knowledge and
imagination. A system of cataloguing books and other
materials available in the library needs to be developed
so that children can become self-reliant library users.
Apart from books and magazines, a school library
should provide access to the new information
technology to enable children and teachers to connect
with the wider world. In the initial stages of planning,
block-level or cluster-level libraries can be set up. In
the future, India must move towards equipping every
school, irrespective of its level, with a library. In many
parts of the country, community libraries are
functioning in rural areas, and government libraries exist
in many district headquarters. Futuristic planning would
require the amalgamation of such structures in a school
libr ary network in order to maximise the use of
resources. The Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library
Foundation can be given additional resources to act as
a nodal agency for conceptualising a library network
for schools and for monitoring it after it has been
In the day-to-day life of a school, the library can
serve many different kinds of purposes. Restricting
the use of the library to one period a week seldom
allows children to cultivate a taste for reading. Facilities
are to be provided to allow children to borrow books.
Training of teachers in library management and use is
required to meet the demands of this situation. Where
the size of the school building permits a separate room
for the library, it is important to pay attention to creating
a positive ethos in this space by providing good lighting
and seating arrangements. It should even be possible
for a teacher to conduct a class in the library by drawing
upon its resources. It could also serve as a place for
holding discussions, watching a craftsman from the
community giving a demonstration, or listening to a
stor yteller. Creating such resource libraries to support
teachers at the cluster and block levels will complement
and strengthen curriculum renewal. Each block could
specialise in a subject area so that together there are
adequate resources in the district.
One period a week to be devoted to librar y reading.
During this time, children sit and read silently in the
librar y. They r eturn the books borrowed the previous
week and bor row new ones.
If ther e is no library room, the teacher can bring out
books appropriate to the age group and allow children
to choose from the set. It is important to let the child
choose rather than having the teacher distribute the
Library books can be brought into the language class .
For class projects, children can be asked to look up a
reference in the library.
Children can be asked to write about the book they
have read that week during the language class.
Children can be asked to share a stor y they have read
with the other children in class.