The number of children’s libraries has gone down over the years, thanks to the digital age, and an increasing number of children are spending a majority of their time using the internet and playing video games. Though the internet is a wonderful source of information and has many advantages, it certainly cannot replace the joy of reading a good book.
Being extremely fond of reading, right from an early age, my sister and I have both always spent our pocket money on books, and preferred to get books as gifts. With reading being such an important part of our life, we ended up collecting a large number of books over the years — nearly 400. Many of them were our favourites and we could not bear the thought of throwing them away.
This is when we came up with the thought of initiating a free library in our home for the benefit of all other children in the neighbourhood. When our parents heard of the idea, they supported and encouraged our endeavour. We called this venture the ‘Go Getters Library and Book Club’.
We started by segregating the books from our collection into different genres and arranging them neatly on a large book shelf. We distributed brochures within the community and also invited our friends. At the launch event, an interactive session with the children helped us note their suggestions for book club activities.
An informative book quiz was also organised. Many of our friends brought books that they wanted to add to the library. We were able to include 32 new books to the library on the first day itself.
We now have books from different genres, such as classics, fiction, nonfiction, moral stories, mystery or adventure stories, fairy tales, comics and even the encyclopedia.
The library has enrolled 30 members since it was started and many more are joining. It is free and open to all children aged 5 to 18 years. We monitor the borrowing and return of books.
Our library has also encouraged social interaction among children and we have all made many new friends in the process. The simple act of reading stories before bedtime became the foundation of our love for books. Our parents always motivated us to read, which helped our interest grow.
We love to attend book fairs, creative writing workshops, literature festivals and also meet up with authors to learn from their experience. We hope that our library will foster the love for reading books, which will lead to a positive impact on various aspects, like enhancing knowledge and creativity, engaging imagination, expanding vocabulary, improving focus and memory and reducing stress.
In addition to the circulation of books, we have kept the momentum going, by organising different literary events, including book reviews, creative writing sessions and competitions in order to involve children and help them increase their interest in reading.
Setting up this library has been a wonderful learning experience. We feel blessed that we could be instrumental in creating an interest in reading amongst children in our neighborhood. We feel like we could really make a difference in our own, small way.
— The reader is a pupil based in Dubai.
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