Choice between old books and costly collections
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body,” goes a saying. For growing children, given their fertile mind and imagination, reading is very important.
Hyderabad: “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body,” goes a saying. For growing children, given their fertile mind and imagination, reading is very important. These days, even when children exult in immersive experience from their mobiles and iPads; the simple, incomparable joys of reading books should not be an alien concept. Books that fire imagination and enrich mind should be made available everywhere, with every child being encouraged to read. Reading devices should not edge out books.
Alas! Children’s literature is often overlooked when it comes to mainstream collection. Many libraries do not focus on keeping children’s books. Although there are some libraries that are meant exclusively for children, they too have outdated books, many of which haven’t been replaced for years with newer editions.
There are as many as 86 libraries in the city that are run by the State government. Some of the libraries do have a separate section for children’s books. The Jawahar Bal Bhavan (Grade ‘A’ library) run by the government is one such library that is ostensibly dedicated to children. Even in this library books haven’t been replaced for over 50 years. The situation is no different in the State Central Library at Afzalgunj and the City Central Library at Chikkadpally as well.
Experts are of the view that the government should take immediate steps to build additional children’s libraries so that kids can engage in reading at a young age. Private libraries are mushrooming in the city, but most of these are known to be catering to the upper middle class and rich families.
Director of Jawahar Bal Bhavan M Radha Reddy says: “We have nearly 16,000 books, most of which are over 50 years old. They are mostly worn-out and we did not purchase any books due to lack of funds. About 50-60 kids come from different schools in the city daily. Children read the magazines which are available here. When we purchase newspapers, additionally we buy magazines.”
Books N More activities centre for kids at West Marredpally Varsha Ramesh said, “Ours is a private organization and we charge a nominal amount of Rs 100 per month so that everyone can afford it. We have 1,500 centers and more than 20,000 books. We get new books every month. We have kids from the age of 3years to 15 years who come regularly. Approximately 1,000 kids come here every month.”
K Priya, a parent who visits a private library, says: “Though the government is not concerned about providing books to libraries, I’m really glad that at least there are private libraries for children. They update the books quite often and my kids love to spend time in these libraries.”
Another parent, P Swathi, observes: “These days kids have become more tech savvy with smart phones; instead of reading books. More libraries should come in the colonies so it will be helpful for the future generations.”
By Sravanthi Sanam