It’s high time to realise that we need Libraries in Schools/ Institutes/ Community. We are making efforts to see that the areas where we live in have at least a small library which is accessible to all.
Today, we blame it on the education system for not providing good teachers or no teachers and due to which the students don’t get good education. For a change let’s think about this issue differently. Instead of depending on anyone for help, why don’t we provide them the resources and teach them how to use it so to enhance their knowledge and thought process. Further, when we speak of libraries the first thing that comes to one’s mind is a School or an Institute and why not a Community? A Community library can play a larger role in bringing change in the society and enlighten the nation.
Why we need a Community Library in every Village/City?
India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years. With this statistics one can only imagine what would happen if the youth doesn’t have access to books. This way there will be no chance for prospects ahead for them.
Further as per UNESCO India has 47 million youth of secondary and higher secondary school-going age dropping out of school, according to a report by the Montreal-based UNESCO Institute for Statistics and Global Education Monitoring. The 47 million young men and women dropped out of school by the 10th standard, according to the 2016 report.
The enrolment rate in class 10 is 77 percent, but the enrolment rate in class 11 is only 52 per cent, according to a report from the New Delhi-based Institute for Policy Research Studies (PRS).
Enrolment rates declined by about half between class 11 and 12 and college, said the report, although university enrolments increased, in general, since 2008-09.
Looking at the above statistics it is very clear that we have to provide a platform to our students where they can enhance their knowledge; irrespective of the fact whether they continue their education or not and this can be done by establishing a Community Library. A Community Library consisting all kinds of books from Literature/ Academics (Graduate/PG/References) will help the students pursue their studies at least through open examinations as the resources needed will be available in such libraries. Further it will give them a place to enhance their knowledge and thought process rather going through frustration, fear and loneliness.
Challenges for a Community Library:
According to the 2011 census of India, 68.84% of Indians (around 833.1 million people) live in 640,867 different villages. The size of these villages varies considerably. 236,004 Indian villages have a population of fewer than 500, while 3,976 villages have a population of 10,000.
With reference to the above data the biggest challenge which lies ahead is of who can support the Community Library in every village, arrange the place and help in managing the library. Well, the answers lie within every village itself i.e. they have to come forward and start this mission “bringing idle books to hungry minds”.
In Villages the Panchayat/Youth Community will have to play a vital role in coming forward and taking the responsibility of establishing a Community Library. There are a huge number of retired people/housewives in these villages who can spend 2 hrs running the library and that too in turns. Also the Panchayat could offer a small place where the books can be kept. Now the question arises- how to collect books? Well, there are number of NGOs like Food4thought foundation that is ready to support them with books, and even they themselves can go forward and conduct a book donation campaign in their nearby schools/colleges and collect the books to start the library. More importantly they have to create awareness among the communities about the importance of a library, why should we spend at least an hour there, how to use this library, and ways to support this library.
In this entire process of building a library, the biggest fear which lies is who will run it? Well the answers is very simple – the students. They need a place where they can get the resources. We just need to support them by providing the resources and place as they do not require any teachers to teach them how to read. These 47 million youth of secondary and higher secondary school dropouts have gained the basic knowledge of reading now they need just need resources to go ahead. Also with their support we can help those who cannot read at all or are finding difficulties in reading.
Thus let us all come together and pledge to help all those students living in these 6,40,867 villages(Communities) as these Community Libraries will help in the following ways:
- Make New Friends
- Build Knowledge Base
- Debate and Discuss on sensitive issues rather than boil
- Encourage reading by conducting activity around it
Written by: Mrs. Madhavi Sharma (Foundation Director)