VSA News speaks with Ms. Sindhu, the Librarian – Vidyashilp Academy
1. What is your vision for the school library?
My vision is to provide a wide variety of books catering to the needs of students and staff equally to ensure that ideas and information are used effectively. To create a calm and serene environment for the readers and as a Librarian who reads extensively, to share knowledge to motivate and create love for reading among the students and the staff.
2. Why did you decide to be a school librarian?
Reading is my passion. I never thought of this profession before I joined Vidyashilp Academy, I was working in a corporate sector as a senior executive in the field of Finance and Administration. The opportunity at Vidyashilp happened by chance, which I welcomed. However, my passion for reading along with love for children coupled with my wish to help readers and non-readers in the same circle makes this an enriching experience. I have received immense support and trust in the past 20 years from the Management, staff and students. Now, this has become a part of my being which I will never be able to detach. Today we have a collection of around 31,668 books. I have facilitated various activities in the library such as Author Introduction, Workshops, Book Talk, Storytelling, Character Enactments, Drama, above all Library Fest in the years 2014-15 and 2015-16 which had a good response from students as well as parents.
3.How would you, as the school librarian, connect what you do in the library to today’s emphasis on student achievement and the common core standards?
Basically, I interact with the child to understand the liking towards various reading. I also take individual assessment of the child to know reading before I start issuing books. This way an awareness in the choice of books required for the child is created letting them have a happy reading session. I also provide students with necessary resources for in-depth understanding of the topics they learn in their day-to-day subjects and a general awareness of topics the child is interested in. Students are free to explore the library and have the freedom to choose any book as long as they can read and understand.
4. What is the best collection you had till date?
It is difficult to limit it to one. The collections by Roald Dahl has been the best among all age groups. There are also several collections by Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Harry Potter, Geronimo Stilton, Percy Jackson, Sudha Murthy, Puffin Classics which children go crazy about. Among the classics, the most popular collection is the Tom Sawyer and Black Beauty which is popular among the class IV and V. In the young adult series, John Green, Julie Kagawa, Kiera Cass, Robin Cook, Stephen King, Robert Muchamore, Alex Rider series, Chetan Bhagat, Sudha Murthy are the more popular collections.
5. Discipline is a common problem in the Library. How do you deal with it?
Generally, the library is noisy only in the first minutes of the class, i.e., until they settle down with a book. Children are like bees swarming in a beehive. Their curiosity and the challenge of finding a book is the reason for their indiscipline. Every child wants popular books in hands first. To avoid the rush and madness around the bookshelves, we keep these books separately and hand it over to them as per their previous issue records to provide equal opportunity for all children. Once they get what they want, they settle down to their task. We also help the children find their necessary books from the shelves, help them explore and recommend books by giving an idea of what the book contains. This way they not only take popular books but also the books we recommend. Since each child is being issued two cards, this becomes easier. Sometimes children run around wanting attention, such children are made to sit with me, either to make them read or to read out some books for them, if the time permits. I also give them some silent games once in a while like Puzzles, Pictionary, etc. related to books if they do not show interest in reading to let them stay focused.
6. What is your favorite children’s book?
Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Ruskin Bond, Junie B Jones, Ramona Quimby, Pippi Longstocking, Nancy Drew, Folk Tales, Panchatantra etc.
7. The tagline of the Library room says “Reading is Succeeding”. Could you please explain this?
The more you read, the more you gain. Reading is a means for language acquisition, communication and sharing information and ideas. It is a pathway to success and fulfillment. It trains your imagination to think big. Those who read for a longer period can stay focused on one particular task for a longer time thus increasing their concentration and comprehension skills. If the child can stay focused, then they can succeed in anything they take up. It also relaxes the mind to think better.
Reading a variety of books give children an idea of what the world is. The book provides knowledge of experience, attitude and cultural/ social aspects of the society. This refinement molds them into a good human.
8. How do you promote reading?
I try to select books for the library suggested by the readers as far as possible. This encourages them to read voluntarily what they like instead of considering it a chore or a duty. Sometimes I recommend books by personally taking the student/ staff to the relevant shelves, to skim through the books and let them know what each book contains. We also hold sessions like Book talk, Author introduction or activities based on books available in the library to lure them into reading. We display new arrivals to create awareness on the kind of books purchased. Children love issuing new books.