Thursday, March 4, 2010

Desktop library turns a big hit

KOCHI: The state of school libraries is no different from the plight of extinct animals or dying art forms. Hardly appealing and no takers. And why should they, when students can read as much as they please by sitting in front of computers at home.

So, why not take a library online and make it available to students at their desktop? Faizal, the librarian at the Library Media Centre at Kendriya Vidyalaya Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram, had this idea one fine day in September 2007. Things have never been the same after that. The library took to web world with a blog of its own, which has been hailed as the first Indian library blog. Log on to www.librarykvpattom.wordpress.com and you know why it has many takers.

The whole concept revolves around the idea that a library should be a friend, says Faizal. He, a qualified librarian, manages the blogs and all the other web initiatives of KV Pattom. �Children spend more time before computers logging on to social networking sites. On an experimental basis, we began this library blog, which was a way of reaching out to these kids online. If they dont come to the library, then let�s reach them where they are,� Faizal says.

The blog has everything a student might want to know about a library. Library services, both offline and online, library activities, library bulletin, library automation (KV Pattom is the first of KV schools in the country to go fully automated) and, of course, on every other book that the student comes across. �The response was tremendous, there is now a healthy turnout at the library,� Faizal says. There are blog interactions where the students can chat with the librarian online and send him queries about books.

Having done that, Faizal started an e-magazine for the library, libzine, which is available at www.libzine.wordpress.com. And to make students more attached to books, another blog was started, www.mydearbook.

wordpress.com. This blog is exclusively for publishing book reviews written by students.

After a reading session at the library, students can scribble in whatever they thought about the book or about their reading experience.

Another service provided by this library is the access to class homework and assignments online. Log on to www.homeworksonline.

wordpress.com to know details.

There is also Library Junction (www.libraryjunction.ning.com), which is a social networking community, owned by the library. As the tagline says, �It�s where minds meet and ideas pop up, to promote books, reading, knowledge and libraries.� There are nearly 450 members in this network and half of them are KV students while the rest are from outside. From the forum, you get to know that almost all happenings in the book world, from plagiarism alleged against J K Rowling to the Twilight Saga�s success, are being discussed here

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