Library narratives

Anitha B and Seethal PS

Collaborative reading and brainstorming sessions in school libraries play a vital role in nurturing the intellectual, social, and emotional growth of students. Such activities always promote critical thinking, communication skills, collaboration, creativity, and confidence while fostering a love for learning and building a sense of community within the school environment. Vidyodaya School aims to provide an enriching, innovative and meaningful learning experience to the student community. A plethora of activities are planned throughout the academic year to nurture creative and intellectual development of the students. The library plays a pivotal role in supporting the academic and co-curricular activities of the school by playing an integral part in all activities.

During library periods, students are encouraged to lead and take part in a variety of infotainment activities. Activities like role plays, story enactment, group reading, grammar games, debates, and discussions always help improve creativity, imagination, and linguistic and communication skills of children. The following are some of the other ways in which such activities will help.

Foster collaboration: Working together in diverse brainstorming sessions promotes teamwork and collaboration. Students learn to share ideas, negotiate differences, and work towards common goals, and acquire essential skills for success in both academic and professional settings.

Encourage creativity: Brainstorming sessions stimulate creativity and innovation by encouraging students to generate and explore new ideas. They foster a supportive environment where students feel empowered to express their creativity without fear of judgment.

Promote critical thinking: Group discussions provide opportunities for students to articulate their thoughts and opinions effectively. They learn to express themselves clearly, listen actively to others, and engage in respectful dialogue.

Expand knowledge and build confidence: Through collaborative exercises, students are exposed to diverse viewpoints and experiences. They gain a deeper understanding of complex topics and broaden their knowledge base. It helps to boost their confidence in their abilities and contribute meaningfully to discussions and problem-solving processes. This confidence in turn inspires their educational and personal endeavours in general.

Develop social skills and strengthen community bonds: Collaborative activities in the school library foster a sense of belonging and community among students. They create opportunities for meaningful interactions outside the classroom and contribute to a positive school culture. Here students are getting opportunities to interact with their peers in a structured environment. They learn to respect diverse perspectives, collaborate effectively, and develop empathy towards the ‘other’.

Collaboration across departments has significantly bolstered students’ reading habits. The library partnered with the departments of English and physical education to organize a dynamic “Find it, Search it, and Read It” activity (quiz-treasure hunt-exhibition) centered on sports literature. This event featured a stimulating quiz and treasure hunt focusing on sports-themed books, culminating in an exhibition of these titles within the library. Approximately 300 students eagerly formed groups to partake in this engaging initiative, demonstrating a newfound enthusiasm for exploring books that they had previously overlooked during regular reading hours.

Additionally, an equally thrilling endeavour unfolded with the Exhibition of Science Fiction books, a collaboration between the library and the departments of English and science. To ignite interest in sci-fi literature, the reading club members enacted a captivating skit based on Isaac Asimov’s Positronic Man, followed by an informative introduction to the genre. Subsequently, the library had an exhibition showcasing sci-fi books. The overwhelming excitement displayed by students towards sci-fi reading was incredibly encouraging, prompting plans for similar activities across all departments in the future.

Peer learning cultivates a nurturing and inclusive learning environment where students actively immerse themselves in the material, honing essential skills while bolstering each other’s academic progress and success. Within peer learning environments, students seamlessly transition between the roles of learners and educators. Embracing the responsibilities of a tutor or mentor instills a profound sense of accountability and leadership among students, empowering them to take charge of their own educational journey while uplifting their peers. Numerous peer learning initiatives were implemented during library periods, aimed at enhancing children’s reading and writing proficiency. These sessions underscored the efficacy of peer support as students offered personalized assistance tailored to individual strengths and weaknesses, effectively bridging learning gaps.

To summate, group activities in school libraries serve as integral components in strengthening the pursuit of learning.  These engagements not only enhance the academic experience but also foster holistic development of students. By spearheading such initiatives, school libraries empower students to embrace a lifelong journey of reading and learning.

References

1. Brown, E. A. (2022, July 24). How to turn a library into a collaborative learning center. District Administration. https://districtadministration.com/how-to-turn-a-library-into-a-collaborative-learning-center/

2. https://cbseacademic.nic.in/web_material/publication/cbse/25LibraryasaResourceCentre.pdf

3. (n.d.). American Library Association | Awards, publishing, and conferences: ALA membership advocates to ensure access to information for all. https://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/slr/vol13/SLR_ImpactofNewYork.pdf

4. Just a moment... (n.d.). Just a moment… https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01930826.2021.1883370

5. (n.d.). UNL Institutional Repository. https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=12723&context=libphilprac

The authors are librarians at Vidyodaya School, Thevakkal, Kochi. They can be reached at libraryvidyodaya@gmail.com.

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