Through the years spent in the field of education at close quarters, I have come to realize one important thing that though knowledge might be gleaned in the classrooms of a school, personalities sure are formed within its library walls. A close access to a range of books from academic reference books, to fiction, non-fiction and news periodicals is the most amazing positive influence a school can have on the budding minds and in our case, we were fortunate enough to have full access to our class library from Class III onwards and the massive, School library from Class VII, onwards.
The chief objective of the learning is to instil
the love for reading in the young minds and the compulsory library hour every
week was a ritual looked forward to, in all earnestness. From a very young age,
we were inspired and motivated to issue one book every week to be taken home,
usually on Fridays and a discussion would ensue in the following week about the
impact of that particular book, no matter how inconsequential, it might be, on
Books of Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Malory Towers, Secret Seven, Famous Five, short stories of Ruskin Bond, O’ Henry, R.N Tagore, R.K Narayana would leave behind indelible impression on the young minds and whet our appetite for more. So much so, that sometime we would finish our books in the middle of the week and swap it with our best friends to have two at one go. Real life accounts of children who would be the recipient of bravery awards every year would always make me hold them in so much awe and respect and instill the need for altruism at that impressionable age.
Fiction would go hand in hand with mythological stories from our epics which imbibed the love for knowing more about the culture of the nation we were born in and made History a more relatable and less dreaded subject. Biographies of people who battled odds to achieve the impossible and set new benchmarks for generations to come made us realize that survival is not going to be easy nor success a birth right but hard work and dedication may just take us that closer to our dreams.
The libraries served another key function. There were in our school some extremely meritorious friends who did not have the privilege of coming from very affluent background and this library was nothing short of the key to all their aspirations. Text books, Reference books, Periodicals and Question banks everything was at their disposal to be used, as per their need and discretion without pinching their pockets and making their journey that much easier.
Having a school library to take care of and be answerable for inculcated in us, from a very early age the need to take good care of property which did not belong to us but involved the graciousness of someone who was willing to lend them out and return them, on time for wider circulation without necessarily having the habit of hoarding everything for our personal use. These life lessons, along with other key learning’s, went a long way in framing the kind of personalities we would have, later in life.