Hanging libraries to create joy of reading

Niti Aayog lauds Barpeta initiative

By PANKAJ SARMA in Guwahati
  • Published 12.09.18
A hanging library at a primary school in Barpeta district

Guwahati: Schools in Assam's Barpeta district are banking on "hanging libraries" to make children inculcate the habit of reading books.

Barpeta deputy commissioner Thaneswar Malakar told The Telegraph that they introduced the concept of "hanging library" in primary schools to arrest the declining reading habit among students, which was also affecting overall learning. He said such libraries have been set up in more than 180 schools in the district through donations from the public.

A "hanging library" can be created by arranging books in horizontal rows on ropes or on wooden beams with pins just like periodicals and newspapers displayed in a book shop.

"Children notice the attractive and colourful cover pages and are more often than not attracted to pick them up without help from teacher. It gives them barrier-free access to books," said Pranabjyoti Kalita, district programme officer (teacher training and pedagogy), Sarba Siksha Abhijan (SSA), Barpeta.

Many schools have even decorated walls of libraries with pictures for learning.

These libraries are the result of a joint effort by the district administration, SSA and Piramal Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Piramal Group that undertakes projects in education and other sectors.

Niti Aayog, the central policy think tank, lauded the "hanging library" concept introduced by Barpeta deputy commissioner on its Twitter handle on Monday, saying it had resulted in a fun learning environment and improvement in learning and reading outcomes.

Kalita said in almost all government and provincialised primary schools, books are kept in a box or in a wardrobe or almirah.

"Since the books are kept in stacks, usually children do not have easy access to them and they have to take the help of teachers. Moreover, many school management committees complain about insufficient space for a conventional library. In such situations, a hanging library is the ideal solution," he said.

According to him, many schools in Barpeta, after setting up hanging libraries, have also started a special weekly library class.

"In the library class, pupils enjoy sharing stories, picture reading and handling concept they explore in books and so on," Kalita said.

The district administration has also introduced BaLA (Building as a Learning Aid) under which lessons are taught through wall paintings.