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Banning Books & Reconsideration Policy

By Collection Development, General, Library Policy, Professional Learning No Comments

Here is my story: 

Fantasy Fairy Tales Child Girl Forest House Queen

A long time ago, when I was a Primary School Librarian, a parent came up to me in the Library and asked me to take off all the fairy tale stories from our primary collection. She remarked that the fairy tales were full of violence and were inappropriate for children. Many fairy tales have evil parents who send their children away, ugly beasts that kidnap children and mistreat them. She said, “These stories place parents in poor light, especially the story of Cinderella, where the stepmother is evil.” She questioned me, “do you think all stepmothers are evil? Is the goal of Cinderella to only marry the Prince and live happily ever after?”

In Hansel and Gretel, the father asks the children to leave their home? The children are stranded in the forest with an evil witch who wants to boil the children? What about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? It belittles the role of parents. These are just a few examples from 100s of examples that we encounter. 

What do Librarians do for building a collection?

A dynamic librarian will provide a variety of books that include fairytales, becoming of age stories like Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares, Talking Of Muskaan by Himanjali Sankar, Slightly Burnt by Payal Dhar, Daddy Come Lately by Rupa Gulab, Asmara’s Summer by Andaleeb Wajid are just a few examples. Check out other additional titles.

As librarians, we include picture books with unconventional stories like  The Tree Boy by Srividhya Venkat, Nayantara Surendranath, Puu by CG Salamander, Samidha Gunjal, Sadiq Wants to Stitch by Mamta Nainy, Niloufer Wadia Ritu weds Chandni by Ameya Narvankar and more titles. 

Discussing sensitive topics that deal with gender and the caste system is very complex. However, we must find ways to address them with an open mind without sharing our strong opinions by providing a platform for discussion, where there is respect, kindness, and acceptance of different views and voices. Stories like these will give healthy discussions while igniting empathy. Turning the Pot, Tilling the Land: Dignity of Labour in Our Times, Bhimayana: Experiences of Untouchability, and here is another list of nonfiction for older students in secondary school.

Evolving School and Growing Libraries

If schools need to transform, the library collection must evolve and create a collection of print and digital resources that provide different perspectives that include historical and current ideas.

Students are curious. Children want to read books that reflect different communities, lifestyles, and perspectives. The library collection provides opportunities to learn new things. As librarians, we want to bring in a unique collection of books stories that provide perspectives and courage to change and evolve.

Evolving Society and Libraries

As our society evolves, we as librarians want to rise above hypocrisy and double standards. Librarians want to grow and provide a progressive collection of resources to meet the students’ changing needs. What can librarians do to ensure they are progressive and meet the needs of the students while supporting the school and parent community.

Our modern children want to learn about present-day problems, ways of life about gay rights, same-sex marriages, gender equality, and the treatment of privileged versus the unprivileged classes. Schools and libraries want to introduce new literature. However, some parents who find these topics uncomfortable and challenging resist these stories. 

What can Librarians do?

Some of the considerations to evolve as a progressive librarian, we must

  1. Learn and read the school’s school vision, mission, and culture.
  2. Understand the national textbooks. Use the Preamble of the constitution embedded in the textbook to develop your school’s collection to build an inclusive collection.
  3. Identify the curriculum of your school.
  4. Create a selection policy that says that the collection development meets the school policy’s needs and the progressive expectations of a global community.
  5. Create a reconsideration policy for individuals who want to restrict books in the Library

What is the Reconsideration Policy for withdrawing books and Why?

A reconsideration policy is created to ensure that there is transparency in the process of banning or stopping the circulation of books to a particular class or for circulation. 

Librarians are often confronted by community members, either parents or teachers, to ban or withdraw books from their class or the school library. Creating a reconsideration policy for removing books from the collection will allow an open discussion to hear the community member’s voices and allow a democratic process of including books or withdrawing the books from the Library.

The librarian and the curriculum coordinator can draft a document called the reconsideration policy procedure to allow members of the community to voice their opinion of individuals who desire to withdraw or ban particular titles from the collection or stop the circulation of books.

Taking the reconsideration in a very optimistic view, the librarian must keep the larger picture in mind because India is a secular democratic country. Most education system promotes open-mindedness, critical thinking, and cultural competency. It is imperative to create a tolerant mindset if views and opinions do not match your own. Each individual is entitled to their perspective. 

Here are details in Creating a challenge/reconsideration of resources for withdrawal.

Metaliteracy & Power of Communication for Librarians

By General, Librarian's Role, Media Literacy & Information Literacy, Metaliteracy No Comments

Librarians, books, reading, new technology tools, digital literacy, and communication are components in the repertoire of a dynamic evolving role of Librarians. And, we all know that literacy is not only reading, writing, information gathering & evaluating but becoming and supporting students into becoming Metaliterate.

Metaliteracy

What is Metaliteracy?

Metaliteracy has multiple layers. The first layer for Metaliteracy librarians is to start from Transliteracy. According to Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners By Thomas P. Mackey, Trudi E. Jacobson says, Transliteracy emerged outside of the Librarians role where teaching and helping students create knowledge by deciphering from text to physical atlases to Google maps, interactive eBooks, video tutorials, and various Tedx and other social channels based on interests and learning experiences. We consume multimodal literacy, including media literacy, visual literacy, information literacy, & multicultural literacy.

In my opinion, Transliteracy falls directly in the purview of the librarians. It is rethinking our role when creating library plans/curricula. And it might seem practical to include Transliteracy rather than merely – information or media or other literacies since it falls into the heart of the librarians’ domain.

Understanding Transliteracy

Understanding transliteracy helps librarians open up their library curriculum framework and not bottle them into information, technology, or the Literacy Strand. According to T. Ipri, Transliteracy allows librarians and teachers to be fluid and apply a unified approach to literacy rather than focusing on technology tools.

Communications a critical aspect of Transliteracy

Adopting Transliteracy as the basis for learning allows librarians to design instructions where students become the owners, authors, or media creators of their original work. They interact with all forms of modalities: print to all forms of social network platforms to receive information.

Independent Projects

Several years, ago keeping this in mind, the Technology Coach and I embarked on this Independent Project with Elementary School students, giving them the space and time to navigate all forms of sources to arrive at their product/learning. Through these classes, mini-lessons on information searches, identifying credible resources, navigating different kinds of media: videos, images, infographics, and giving students the space and opportunity to create or learn a new skill. After several months, some students made websites, videos, comic books, eBooks, print books, infographics, and even Google tours and pamphlets based on their interests that varied from space, tourism, dolls, games, technology tools, coding, and more. In my opinion, the students learned at their own pace, driven by their interests. According to Dr. Renzulli’s Total Talent Development Program, when a child above average intelligence is allowed to use their creativity with a dedicated task accomplishment goal, this direction leads to Giftedness.

Choice Programs

Presently, a similar program called the ‘Choice Program’ is offered in middle school. Students explore their interests in secondary school, and as a librarian, I have had this opportunity to coach and support these mini-projects at school. This is an opportunity where the librarian becomes a part of the teaching faculty to help Metaliteracy.

After School Programs

I often use the after-school program opportunity to learn and hone new skills while giving opportunities to students to practice skills that lead to metaliteracy. Opportunities in photography, designing, and publication areas are paths where students have their voice and choice. Example the eNewspaper Club for Elementary, Middle, and High schools. Students are editors, and designers are part of every activity, and the librarian is the coach/facilitator to support the project.

Liferarian Conference 2021 Learning

I recently attended the Liferarian Conference 2021; the keynote speaker spoke about the importance of deciphering data and analyzing data by asking the 5W at all levels of data scrutiny. Tableau provides resources for teachers and students to learn about data. Understanding variables & field types in data, exploring aggregations, distributions, and learning how to examine the relationships within the data closely. This, I believe, will help us ‘up our game.’

Indeed, the Librarians’ role is evolving and moving in different directions, encompassing both the physical and the digital spheres. Therefore, as I share this post, I use this opportunity to continue learning and share my learning while honing my writing skills.

What is OER? Use it.

By Fair Use, General 2 Comments

In the world of information texts and fiction, there are three schools of thoughts when using information. 

Some educators believe that all information is copyrighted and will not breach copyright, and will purchase everything to use. Some educators believe that everything on the Internet is free to use and will use what they want for education or personal use. Some educators take the time to learn about the various licences by Creative Commons and look carefully at the accessibility of the resources. 

Many educators and librarians play it safe by using copyrighted materials or completely free websites but hardly venture out to use OER (Open Education Resources) because we know very little about the OER. 

What is OER?

OER is Open Education Resources. According to Unesco, “Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions. OER form part of ‘Open Solutions’, alongside Free and Open Source software (FOSS), Open Access (OA), Open Data (OD) and crowdsourcing platforms.”

 What is the difference between Copyrighted Material and OER?

The publishing world believes that a lot of talent, creativity, and work goes into producing new ideas and products. Therefore, it is only fair for the creators and the publishers to receive a price for their work, just like any other services. Publishers business expect all copyrighted, published texts to be purchased. Through copyright laws, publishers can help protect the creator’s intellectual property, whether they are words or music or videos.

According to UNESCO: Open access means that 

  • “Its content is universally and freely accessible, at no cost to the reader, via the Internet or otherwise;
  • the author or copyright owner irrevocably grants to all users, for an unlimited period, the right to use, copy, or distribute the article, on condition that proper attribution is given;
  • it is deposited, immediately, in full and in a suitable electronic form, in at least one widely and internationally recognized open access repository committed to open access.”

Benefits of OER:

  • With an increase in technology use in India, the OER can cater to students educational needs, especially for the disadvantaged society 
  • Open educational resources include complete courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques to support access to knowledge and learning to all at any time.

Nayantara Padhi’s research paper describes how college professors and educators are open and respectful of OER. Due to the lack of technology resources and lack of understanding of copyright and plagiarism, there is a hesitation to use OER in India. Little experience and support from the Heads of Institutes also reduce the opportunity to use OER.

Many developed countries like the USA and Australia are very serious about promoting open educational resources. India is working very hard to build an OER and are serious about it, and is developing. Currently, OER in the school education field hardly exists since textbooks drive school education. The OER sites by the government are hard to navigate. They are not as robust as the Khan Academy and others.

Does traditional teaching stifle intellectual growth?

The new National Education Policy 2020 has encouraged collaborative, conceptual teaching and learning, emphasizing communication, critical thinking, deep literacy connections, learning science and mathematical concepts. In a fast-changing world, traditional schooling does not work. All memorization is not the answer to the practical use of education in the real world. 

So, when teachers are encouraged to use OER instead of textbooks, creativity and information learned can become valuable. For example – learning about different waste management systems from various sources and finding alternatives, solutions and advocating for their use is far more valuable than simply memorizing waste management methods. 

How can Librarians & Educators support OER?

Technology with information has taught us that learning does not stop in schools and universities. Having the right mindset and the desire to learn can propel the individual to grow in knowledge and skills. Librarians and educators who continue the lifelong habit of learning inspire others to succeed. All education is available on the Internet with zero fees. So, therefore there is no excuse for learning. Sharing success stories of OER teaching and learning can help others grow and learn.

Misunderstanding of OER?

Some individuals believe that OER is not authentic or the information is incorrect. Some are also of the belief that the OER value of learning is not up to the mark. If you take a Harvard Certificate and do not put the education into practice, it is not worth it. If you develop skills and knowledge through an OER, transform and practice, there is nothing to stop one from growing and learning. All soft skills or knowledge put into practice is the only way to succeed. Therefore, looking carefully into the OER and the sources can be important too. 

Wisdom is not a product of schooling, but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” – Winston Churchill.

Teacher Resources

Diksha Platform for CBSE Schools (Indian)

World largest lesson plans based on SDG (Unesco)

Storyweaver stories for students in school (Pratham eBooks)

Teacher Education School-based support (TESS Indian)

American English resources

Neptel (MHRD Project)

CK-12 Curriculum Resources (Indian)

Ed-X Resources (A collaboration of International Universities)

Google Scholar

Phet Interactive Simulations for Math and Science (US)

Enrich Math (University of Cambridge)

Edutopia – Educational Pedagogy (Trusted sources for education pedagogical views)

Role of School Librarians in Curating OER

Dr. Ambedkar University OER

 

Learning Never Stops for Librarians

By General, Librarian's Role, Library curriculum, Professional Development No Comments

 

School Librarians: Learning about eBooks, print books, information & media literacy.

In India, most professional development for national school librarians usually address technical aspects like the OPAC – Online public access catalogue or how to access the books, maintaining the stock of books, and rules for the libraries and purchase of books. During this pandemic, librarians learned different technology tools like google sites, pear deck, Kahoot and other tools to build their technology skills.

However, the Librarians role is changing. Librarians growth lies in the need to work in collaboration with teachers and the school curriculum. Librarians need to read and learn about books & stories and ways to support primary and secondary schools’ teaching and learning to remain relevant. If the librarian works in a progressive environment, professional development is the only way to help them stay relevant to the changing landscape. And, Liferarian Association provides the opportunity.

Professional Development for International School Librarians

International Schools are looking for librarians with multi-literacy skills, information and media literacy knowledge & skills to support elementary and secondary schools. 

Professional Development for Indian School Librarians

With the onset of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, Librarians can capitalize on this change in education policy and opt for an opportunity to learn about the curriculum. When included in the staff meetings, librarians can better understand the school curriculum’s needs, thus creating a relevant collection of books for literacy and nonfiction books to support the interdisciplinary approach, experiential learning, and project-based learning mentioned in the education policy. 

The Liferarian Association has initiated two practical courses to help build library skills and knowledge. 

Code 01: Extended essay and Research skills (5 synchronous sessions) – INR 5,500

In this course, participants will learn how to research and teach students how to formulate a research question. Teach students how to identify and cite resources correctly, and it’s importance. Participants will learn and receive practical ways to help students plan, reflect and learn to guide students research and project work.

Code 02: Liferarian’s School Library Course (6 synchronous sessions) – INR 6,500

In this course, participants will learn the importance of a library curriculum and create one relevant to their school. Learn how to read aloud stories by learning about the different literacy strategies like authors’ purpose, inference, analyzing the plot and more. During the writing session, librarians or educators will learn how to write and support creative writing through practical lessons and writing exercises. Besides literacy, participants will learn how to help research skills, project work within the school structure—learning about media, digital citizenship, and advocating for the ethical use of information by understanding copyright and plagiarism concepts. This course will include practical lessons and ideas to empower the librarians.

Some responses and feedback from the workshops were:

  • I didn’t know how important it was to connect with the school curriculum.
  • I now know a lot about copyright, media literacy and the importance of ethical use of information, and now I know how to teach my students.
  • During my classes in this international school, I can now teach information literacy skills.
  • I did not know there were so many aspects of literacy when you read aloud picture books. I now learned how important it is to have focused learning strategies.
  • I discovered that I like to write, and writing involves revisions and thinking.
  • I did not know the Librarians can do so much.

This coursework is for librarians who want to change the way educators think about librarians and evolving with other educators, as learning doesn’t stop. 

Socrative Style of Questions

By General, Librarian's Role, Readaloud 5 Comments

Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel —Socrates.

Much research has shown the benefits of reading, and despite the rich evidence, librarians are struggling to support reading habits. However, reading habits are not the sole responsibility of the librarian but the entire education system and the parents. When students see adults reading, thinking, and questioning, students will imitate and follow along. Reading breeds Reading.

One of the critical aspects of building a reading habit is developing curiosity and interest – this will then lead to the joy of reading.

How to read aloud?

I’ve noticed that when librarians or teachers read aloud picture books to children, the questions that they ask are simplistic and obvious, thus not challenging children to think and question. Children need to begin thinking and asking questions right from an early age. As librarians, when we read aloud, we can change the way we ask questions and pave the way for discussions.

For example, before we read aloud stories or after we have read a story we often ask –

  • Who is the author?
  • What is the title of the story?
  • What did you learn from the story?
  • What is the plot?
  • What is the setting or where is the story taking place?

Instead, we should learn the art of Socrative type of questioning or simply as we know it as Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) on the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

What is Socrative style or type of questioning?

Socrates was a Greek philosopher, and he said – Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel. If we have to kindle the flame then it is essential to create a library space where there is a dialogue between the students and librarians. There is little or no space for lectures and therefore, no rote learning.

The teacher-librarian can be the one who initiates the questioning process – helps the students to think/ponder and brings out their values and beliefs in the process of discussion. Therefore, building a safe intellectual space for their independent thoughts and opinions.

Types of Socratic Questions?

There are several types of Socrative style of questions, here are three.

1. Clarification Questions

Questions in this Socrative style sound like this:

  • What do you mean by…?
  • The author has said it this way…. how would you explain it another way?
  • What is the main problem here – Can you explain it with another example?
  • Why is this important?
  • Is this easy or hard?
  • Why do you think so?

For example, when you read the book called No Smiles Today by Cheryl Rao illustrated by Saurab Pandey (Story Weaver – Pratham Books) (A story about a little child who is sad and her friends try to guess why she is sad and eventually finding her lost pet which makes her happy again.)
Socrative questions to ask when reading this book would be-

  • What is sadness?
  • Why do people feel sad?
  • The author talks about the child losing her pet and feeling sad – What are other reasons for sadness?
  • How do you overcome sadness?
  • Is it easy to overcome sadness? Why?

2. Questions about an Issue?

When one reads aloud a picture book with a global issue or problems in society, questions in Socrative-style may sound like this:

  • Why is this an important topic to discuss?
  • Is it easy or difficult to solve this issue? Why?
  • What assumptions can you make about the issue or subject?
  • Does this topic/problem lead to other problems and questions?

Use the above questions for this picture book when reading a book like Riddle of the Riddleys  (A story about thousands of olive ridley sea turtles on the beach of Orissa, who die each year due to the callousness of fishermen and people.) or any other book related to issues

Another example, if you are reading a picture book like The Why-Why Girl by Mahasweta Devi illustrated by Kanyika Kini (a story about Moyna who can’t go to school because she is a girl and because of her socio-economic conditions). When reading this book, you may ask questions like –

  • What is the issue in the story, and why is it essential to discuss this topic about gender discrimination?
  • Why is education opportunities not available for all?
  • What are the conditions that lead to inequality of education for all?
  • Is it easy to solve this problem? Why? Why not?
  • What might be different ways to address this issue?
  • What can we do at different levels to address this problem?

Similar questions can be asked of a novel. For example, Rippler by Cidney Swanson free on Bookbub is a fantasy novel dealing with a genetic disorder and inhuman experiments during the Nazi rule. Questions about scientific experiments, human body and genetic disorders can be explored, some questions may include:

  • What are the different conditions maintained in the laboratory for scientists in India when conducting experiments on animals?
  • How human or inhuman is testing on animals? Why? What do you think?
  • What other topics are related to genetic engineering?
  • If we assume genetic engineering is ok for plants, how can we justify genetic engineering in animals and humans? What are your reasons?
  • Can genetic engineering lead to other problems and issues? Can you explain it?
  • Questions like the above can open children’s minds and promote thinking, creating interest, curiosity, and reading?

3. Viewpoint Questions

Socrates style of questioning includes learning about different perspectives and opinions. When you learn about other perspectives it builds humility, kindness and empathy. Understanding viewpoints is not to argue and to prove a point, but understanding that others have a viewpoint and it must be equally respected. Each individual has the freedom to think and be responsible. Keeping this concept in mind, different viewpoint discussions can be held during the library class. Before discussions, the librarians must ensure that each individual’s point must be heard, is important and is respectfully conveyed.

Questions to consider are:

  • How would other people in other sections of the community feel/think about this? Why?
  • Why do you object to this consideration? What facts have you gathered to prove this viewpoint?
  • What is an alternative to bring further acceptance or rejection?

Another example to try is this book called, Father’s Inheritance by Elizabeth Laird (Storyweaver – Pratham Books- level 3)

Socrative style or approach of questioning helps students and adults become thinkers. We learn to conduct meaningful conversations. This disciplined approach teaches us to examine ideas and processes with logic and create a practical exploration of content leading to knowledge.

Students and adults may not have answers to any of the questions but it can lead to enquiry, curiosity, interest and reading to investigate their questions and sharing of new knowledge. Asking questions in the right spirit of curiosity and learning leads to success. If you google – Socrative-style of questions you will find lots of resources or check this out.

Warren Berger, a journalist in his book, The Book of Beautiful Questions, say, “You don’t learn unless you question.”

Present-day Profile of a Librarian – Attitude and Skills

By General, Librarian's Role, Lockdown - Covid-19 5 Comments

What is the need of a school library?

For every accreditation of the school, the Library is an essential part of school systems. Libraries are built and given importance to support multi-literacies, nurture life-long readers and learners. Thus, placing the librarian to perform a teacher’s role, an information specialist, and the library program administrator. Therefore, the librarian is a necessary aspect of the school system. They are responsible for acquiring resources like books and online databases, organizing and maintaining the resources to meet the school community’s learning needs.

What are the Librarians doing during the pandemic of 2019?

This year of the pandemic has shown that when the librarian has been a risktaker, independent & collaborative in learning, committed, and adaptive, they have been successful in this given situation.

Many librarians have had a reduced number of classes. Some have not had lessons but instead collaborated with classroom teachers, librarians have provided digital resources to support teaching & learning. Some librarians have been co-teaching, teaching other subjects, taking after school activities for reading sessions or engaging in debates, competitions, and school events. Librarians have taken on different roles (not traditional bookkeepers of the Library) which must not be mistaken to believe that the librarian’s position is unimportant, but recognize librarians as adaptive, flexible, and versatile.

Many local private schools administrations requested the librarians to take a sabbatical from work during the pandemic. After ten months, the administration is now offering them to return to work by providing them with the professional training to bring them up to speed with technology and teaching pedagogy. Had the administration, used this opportunity to train all educators and librarians simultaneously, it would have helped them financially and, including the librarians, would have helped raise the librarians’ standards and the Library’s role in the school.

The librarian role, like other educators, is evolving each year. Having the right attitudes are essential for success. Besides the required academic qualifications, librarians need to be adaptive learners and experimental in their approach.

What skills must Librarians have to meet the needs of schools?

  • One of the most crucial skill is finding ways to serve the community of learners, from students to teachers and even parents. So, when students do not have access to printed books, they can find other ways to introduce new eBooks based on students’ interests and needs, as seen during this pandemic situation. Sometimes, teachers need books to teach, but with no physical books available, the librarian needs to identify eBooks and resources to serve the teachers’ needs. Besides, teachers and students, librarians can reach out to parents. For example, during – the pandemic, librarians can provide well-research articles to parents to develop a balanced understanding of print and digital life.
  • Librarians need to be adaptive to revise systems and develop new ways. For example, librarians have started creating websites to provide a one-stop-shop for all users during the pandemic. They have altered the procedures for book checkouts. Some librarians in rural India started sending PNG’s instead of Jpegs because of its small size file through WhatsApp messages to direct students to websites.
  • Librarians need to take new initiatives. This pandemic has shown the librarians and the administration that eReources are essential for learning. Keeping this mind, the librarians should take the initiative by requesting changes in the budgets to support subscription of electronic resources in the form of databases to support differentiation and personalized learning paths.  All free resources may not meet all learners’ needs; therefore, structured eResources for building language literacy and other subjects will need to subscribe. Librarians can take the initiative to learn about the school curriculum, learn about the new databases, request for database trials, and recommend appropriate electronic databases or programs that will support teachers and students. Librarians must restructure and relocate funds for these new resources, make practical suggestions, and allocate a judicious amount spent on books and eResources.
  • Librarians must become familiar with many technology tools, and use it purposefully. Using fancy tools and making glamorous presentations without merit and learning value must be kept in mind and avoided.
  • Most importantly, learning to use technology is not as crucial as knowing and reading children’s literature for primary and secondary schools.
  • Learning, using and helping others use information and media ethically and respecting the copyright works of authors who put in the effort to share their craft and knowledge. And, most importantly, to credit and learn to use information and media lawfully.

What other skills and expectations should Librarians develop?

librarianship as a profession, one must always remember to keep the light of learning alive and relevant to meet new school programs and initiatives that continue to evolve to meet each child’s needs. Librarians must, therefore continue to fine-tune the following skills.
– Learning to prepare reports in written and oral form.
– Learning to interpret the school curriculum and find ways to add meaning and value to the library program.
– Build healthy, safe, and effective relationships with all community members, including students, teachers, parents, supervisors, vendors,       and volunteers.
– Creatively adapt and use best practices to meet the needs of the school community.

Steve Maraboli, a Behavioral Scientist, specializing in motivational psychology, leadership dynamics, and peak performance mindset, says, “Look around you. Everything changes. Everything on this earth is in a continuous state of evolving, refining, improving, adapting, enhancing, and changing. You were not put on this earth to remain stagnant.”

So, I say to myself, what I learn today is good for now, but the wisdom I have gained in the process will support what I will need to know tomorrow. Learning never stops.

Impact of NEP 2020 on Teacher Librarian (India)

By General, Librarian's Role, Teacher Librarian 10 Comments

According to the NEP 2020 Policy – “Education is fundamental for achieving full human potential, developing an equitable and just society, and promoting national development. Providing universal access to quality education is the key to India’s continued ascent and leadership on the global stage in terms of economic growth, social justice and equality, scientific advancement, national integration, and cultural preservation”.

This new education policy is to build Indian’s talent and resources and help develop universal society, country while positively impacting all. The Government endeavors to provide high-quality educational opportunities to grow holistically for oneself and society.

The SDG goals emphasis on Education is reflected in the 2030 plan of Sustainable development of Education in India, ensuring that Education is inclusive and equitable to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all – including children, adults, and professionals in the field of Education. In fact, 50 hours of Professional Development is required to ensure that educators have the necessary skills and pedagogical understanding and practices for executing the new education policy.

All practices included in the Library and schools must be inclusive and equitable. Being inclusive, it must consist of all groups of individuals to receive the services of a library and include all individuals from different tribes, rural, socially economically disadvantaged groups (SEDGs) children with special needs (CWSNs) and minorities.

NEP 2020 from a Librarian’s Point of View

Looking at the NEP 2020 from a teacher librarian’s point of view, here are some of the takeaways:

To provide best practices to support the fundamental principles of Education, the teacher-librarian to collaborate with Teachers that can promote fundamental principles laid down in the NEP. And, this can be done by pursuing – Curiosity & Passion Projects through cluster groups.

The NEP emphasizes the teachers and faculty, including the Librarian, to have an attitude of service. Keeping that in mind- the Library becomes the education service center of resources in print, digital, and personnel.

Passion Projects with the Librarian to map Fundamental Principles

A collaborative project of creating project work that is driven by students interests, strengths, and choices will enable students to reach its potential as recommended by the NEP that has mapped out the fundamental principles mentioned below:

  1. To help recognize, identify and foster each individual’s strengths and talents while promoting each student’s holistic development in both academic and non-academic sphere
  2. The flexibility of choice of learning
  3. Multidisciplinarity and a comprehensive education across the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and sports when learning about India and the world.
  4. Emphasis is on conceptual understanding rather than rote learning
  5. Critical thinking to encourage logical decision-making, problem-solving & innovation
  6. To provide opportunities to express themselves creatively using a variety of technology tools or drama or writing or service
  7. Social, ethical, and emotional capacities & dispositions.

Library Place and Dispositions are exemplified in the NEP.

To build an education for an individual, schools, and libraries must provide a safe, welcoming place, where he/she is intellectually stimulated and where the Library becomes a Learning Hub.

A Library – Learning Hub, where the learning environment exists and can engage and provide a variety of learning experiences to the students. Where the focus is on the 21st-century skills with the dispositions that form the core of the individual’s character & personality

Librarians instructional practices and curriculum, therefore, must include a variety of dispositions in an informal setting to help students develop the dispositions cited in the NEP are:

  • Values like empathy, respect for others, cleanliness, courtesy, democratic spirit, the spirit of service, responsibility, pluralism, equality, and justice.
  • Life skills, such as communication, cooperation, teamwork, and resilience to be included.
  • Scientific temper and evidence-based thinking, creativity, and innovativeness; a sense of aesthetics and art
  • Oral and written communication; collaboration and teamwork; problem-solving and logical reasoning; vocational exposure and skills;
  • Digital literacy, coding, and computational thinking;
  • Ethical and moral reasoning; knowledge and practice of human and constitutional values; gender sensitivity.
  • Promoting multilingualism and the power of language in teaching and learning.

A collaboration where teachers and Librarians learning process with continuous professional development, positive working environments, and service conditions

Emphasis on the Library in the NEP emphasizes the following, and they are:

  • Enjoyable and inspirational books for students at all levels are developed, including through high-quality translation (technology-assisted as needed)
  • Public and school libraries to build a culture of reading across the country.
  • Digital libraries to be established and serve the community during non-school hours and book clubs may meet in public/school libraries to further facilitate extensive reading.
  • A National Book Promotion Policy will take extensive initiatives to ensure the availability, accessibility, quality, and readership of books across geographies, languages, levels, and genres.

According to the NEP – Curriculum and Pedagogy in Schools: Learning Should be Holistic, Integrated, Enjoyable, and Engaging. Library classes and lessons, therefore, must be

  • Inquiry-based, discovery-based, discussion-based, and analysis based learning.
  • The curriculum will focus on key concepts, ideas, applications, and problem-solving.
  • Teaching and learning to be interactive, questioning to be encouraged, and sessions will include engagement from the student side.
  • Art and sports integration
  • Multi-lingual learning

Collection of the Library, as recommended by the NEP, must be inclusive and include the following:

  • Digital
  • Multi-lingual
  • Multi-leveled books
  • Bi-lingual books
  • Indian literature with global literature
  • Blend of modern and classical literature in all languages
  • Books based on inquiry, critical thinking and problem solving
  • In addition to high-quality offerings in Indian languages and international languages, language learning is encouraged to help students learn about the cultures of the world and enrich their global knowledge.
  • Folklore and stories from different states
  • Resources to include pride in India, and it’s diverse, ancient and modern culture and knowledge systems and traditions
  • And resources to lead to Global awareness( we cannot live in isolation)

Librarians Lesson plans to include the following skills when planning

  • Scientific temper and evidence-based thinking
  • Creativity and innovativeness, problem-solving and logical reasoning
  • Sense of aesthetics and art
  • Oral and written communication
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Digital literacy and information literacy
  • Ethical and moral reasoning

According to the NEP, the content to include the following:

– Knowledge of India: ancient and modern
– Environmental awareness including water and resource conservation, sanitation and hygiene
– Current affairs and understanding of critical issues facing local communities
– The specialties of each state, countries and the world around
– Tribal and indigenous knowledge
– All forms of literature Indian and International
– A multi-disciplinary approach to all subjects

If a librarian nurtures the profession to become a teacher-librarian, they can also request continuous Professional Development of 50 hours a year as prescribed by the NEP 2020.

For schools to execute new practices offered by the NEP 2020, they will be introducing a wave of Professional development opportunities that will be provided to all faculty members. Here is a chance for Librarians to learn with the others in the schools transforming your role from a bookkeeper to a Teacher Librarian.

Nonfiction Genres – What are the different forms?

By General No Comments

Every library has a collection of fiction and nonfiction books for students, teachers, and community.

Nonfiction books are usually a collection of facts based on research, evidence, and formal structure. According to the Oxford dictionary, nonfiction prose writing is informative or factual rather than fictional.

Nonfiction texts are presented in various forms. Some of them are – newspapers, magazines, academic paper, textbooks, manuals, travel guides, biographies, and press releases.

In the past 10 years, I have found the popularity of a variety o nonfiction writing styles to appeal to readers making the information far more interactive and meaningful.

Here is a gentle reminder to us to teach the different nonfiction genres to our students. You can use a couple of lessons to teach students about the nonfiction genre. You can read different types of nonfiction genres and help them identify, write, and create their very own collection. Research and facts are vital to writing any form of nonfiction books.

In the present-day context, nonfiction can take the form of essays, narrative documentaries, expository writing, persuasive writing, and descriptive explanation. Each of these forms of books entails research by the author.

With Genrefication of the collection becoming popular in many libraries, knowing the different nonfiction genres can help in the collection development. You can build the nonfiction collection by being mindful of the different styles. Libraries have a large percentage of nonfiction texts, therefore understanding the different forms of nonfiction texts can help build the library collection, thus meeting the needs of the various readers.

What are some of the different forms of nonfiction genres?

Narrative Writing

Tells a true story of an event, place, or person. It is sometimes written in the first person, “I.”

Expository Writing

This style of the book includes facts in the way of explanation of a topic. For example: How can the world save water that can positively impact water conservation.

Persuasive Writing

These books the author takes on a perspective on an issue and argues for or against the opposing side. The author uses facts and information to influence his audience. Often these are editorials in a magazine, newspaper of books.

Descriptive Writing or Narrative Nonfiction

Descriptive nonfiction often allows the reader to examine or explore the topic visually. The author uses sensorial language, rich details, and figurative language to appeal to the readers. Often these can be travelogues or explanation of an event, personal essay, memoirs or stories about animals, planets. There are many types of descriptions of Nonfiction Genre. You can use one that suits your students, whether elementary, middle, or high school.

Examples of nonfiction texts for Adults are:

Expository Writing: Nazia Erum’s debut book ‘Mothering a Muslim: The Dark Secret in Our Schools and Playgrounds’
Persuasive Writing: Dr Yusuf’s Merchant’s ‘Happyness: Life Lessons from a Creative Addict’
Narrative nonfiction: ‘Eleven Ways to Love’ by various authors
Descriptive Nonfiction Kama: The Riddle of Desire’ by Gurcharan Das

Examples of nonfiction texts for Middle & High School

Expository Writing: Spreading Your Wings: A Health Infocomic for Girls of All Ages (Age: 9+) by Ariana Abadian-Heifetz, Pia Alizé Hazarika
Narrative nonfiction: Dongri To Dubai: Six Decades of The Mumbai Mafia (Paperback)S. Hussain Zaidi
Persuasive Writing: What Young India Wants by Chetan Bhagat
Descriptive Nonfiction: How I Braved Anu Aunty & Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company by Varun Agarwal

Examples of nonfiction texts for Elementary/Primary School

Expository Writing: What If The Earth Stopped Spinning And 24 Other Mysteries Of Science
Narrative nonfiction: Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi
Persuasive Writing: Riddle of the Ridley by Shekhar Dattatri
Descriptive Nonfiction: Sleepy Little Yoga: A Toddler’s Sleepy Book of Yoga

Please do include your favourite nonfiction title in the comment box

How to Create a Culture of Reading in 2020 and be successful?

By General, Reading and Writing 2 Comments

Reading is the most essential ingredient of a successful life. All successful people besides being talented, resourceful, and working smart they are readers. They read all kinds of books to build on their imagination, courage and foresight.

Society Reads

Why is Reading Important in Today’s Society?

Through reading, you can learn about new important developments. It gives us an understanding of different angles of life.

  • Reading helps individuals build a large spectrum of information that leads to knowledge.
  • Reading helps you understand the impact of the social, economic, environmental changes on life.
  • Self-help books help you learn about new strategies when dealing with life changes.
  • Helps you learn about different peoples way of living, their ideas, beliefs and gives you their perspective of living, making you become openminded.

Most of all, reading helps us become appreciative and tolerant of other peoples beliefs and value systems and we are all a part of the human race, shouldn’t we, therefore, be accepting of different ways of living?

Why is Reading Important For Adults?

Every Adult Reads

One of the most important attributes of successful people is that they all read. Reading builds the cognitive ability of individuals, builds vocabulary, thinking skills, and concentration. Each of these skills is essential for individual growth, success and meaningful life.

Adults who read with meaning begin to question, thus, making them analytical in their approach. Thinking minds help adults to make decisions based on reason. Life is lived in grey areas, reading helps you become knowledgeable helping you make decisions that require a balance of the head and the heart. Reading creates that balance.

Reading both fiction and nonfiction helps keep the balance. Reading fiction helps open up different life situations and develops the emotional intelligence and social balance helping people live longer. Reading nonfiction builds on the intelligence and the cornucopia of content knowledge.

Every Child Reads

Why is Reading Important for Children?

Children who read are confident learners. They learn language, vocabulary and the syntax of the language without much effort. Reading with meaning and developing comprehension skills are important. Comprehension skill does not only mean only to understand the story and know what happened in the end. It involves different aspects of thinking.

  • Question and Answers
  • Character analysis
  • Analyzing settings
  • Comparing and Contrasting
  • Visualization
  • Synthesizing a large size of contents
  • Identifying the themes
  • Reviewing authors perspective
  • Author’s point of view

Reading critically helps children become better communicators.

Why Should Teenagers Read?

Every Teen Reads

Teenagers brains and minds during their teen years are in search of love, support, encouragement, acceptance, attention and direction. Teenagers need directive support, not overbearing parents who make demands on them.

  • Reading helps teenagers develop the courage to choose and make decisions that would be beneficial to them.
  • Reading unlike videos can be impactful as the richness of the text, in the form of character and events that happen in the story, build on identity and personality development.
  • Internal and external conflicts that arise within the context of the story have resolutions that provide courage, passion and empathy for teenagers to identify with.

Fictional stories of sports, romance, adventure, science fiction, mystery, historical & realistic fiction provide courage and support to make decisions and direction for their dreams, passions and adventure. Reading provides a safe space for them to explore their own beliefs, ideas and ideals.

How Can YOU Build a Culture of Readers?

Firstly, there are no shortcuts in life. All good things need effort. Delicious meals need effort, a designer outfit needs effort and to buy beautiful things in life need money and effort.

Similarly, to build a home of readers we need the support of parents (adults), teachers, and friends. Here is an article from an academic journal that shows there is a correlation between success and reading. According to Scholastic Education, the volume of reading is also essential. It builds stamina, interest and builds resilience.

Reading is a life skill that opens the doors to growth and progress with confidence.

What do you mean by ‘Culture of Reading’?

Read, Read, Read

A culture of readers means that the family places reading as an essential ingredient in life. From a child’s perspective, he sees his/her parents read, the grandparents reading – it can be in any language. The child notices the importance of reading is established in the school.

Every member of the family spends some time of the day – reading. This is how the culture of reading is established.

How do you build ‘Culture of Readers?

Here are some of the ways you can build a culture of readers:

  1. Giving readers an opportunity to read based on their choice. It can be reading a magazine, fiction, nonfiction, folklore, poetry or even a newspaper.
  2. Readers could be given a choice reading on a device or using physical books. (Social media posts don’t apply to this)
  3. Set reading goals. Each member of the family makes their own goal. Goal ideas maybe –
    • To read one book from different genres in six months.
    • Read with someone
    • Join a book club
    • Older siblings can read to little ones or even a pet
    • Read with children/parents
    • Have newspaper articles discussion: identify a topic in news and have the discussion for a week and then change the topic. The first week it could be about local politics, the next week it could be about fashion, the third week it could be about sports; so on and so forth
  4. Most importantly, let the child or adult have a choice of selecting the genre or the reading topic or choice of book or author.

A Reader is a Winner

Successful Readers

Successful readers are insightful, they have better experience in understanding problems. According to Oxfam  India has approximately 74% Literacy rate. It means that 74% can read, write and comprehend information so that they can effectively communicate, and this includes road signs. In this study, only the basic level of literacy is measured.

However, thinking critically, analytically and communicating effectively and using language comes only with deep reading. Reading is important in every aspect of physical, emotional and social growth.

Successful readers are the trigger of modernization, communication and commerce. Good readers comprehend the social and political environment and can respond appropriately. The deeper the literacy and understanding, the greater the awareness to improve social and economic conditions. It is correlated to social upliftment. The more literate the person, a better understanding of health, hygiene and self-worth.

Reading is like a window and a mirror

Window because it shows you different perspectives, different ideas and insights of many different cultures, work and topics

Mirror because it reflects your experiences, feelings, ideas, values and thoughts.

Let’s read you and me and open our world of optimism and a support growth mindset.

Are Classics Worth It?

By Book Reports, Book Talk, General No Comments

Are classic books worth the time and effort? Are they relevant to today’s time and place? Some adults: parents, teachers, and librarians swear by it and feel, if the students haven’t read any classics – they have wasted their time! However, with the changing times, some find that classic books must be shared with the young. It could be done by incorporating movies.

What makes a book a classic? Italo Calvino’s 14 Criteria for What Makes a Classic

Fundamentally, the work focuses on the style of writing or if it is a new entry in a particular genre. Secondly, it addresses fundamental topics in beauty stimulating visual delight or describes the complex nature of the socio-economic-political structure of a specific place and time. Thirdly, the book reflects values that transcend race, time, and location, providing profound wisdom and teachings of life.

A way to engage students in delving into classic literature might be to introduce students to movies based on these classics. Discussing value systems, character, the period the story was written in, settings, and/or author’s purpose. For example, using Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, you could describe the lifestyle of the girls that grew up in those times and compare and contrast them with the present times’ virtues, and freedom. Discuss the role of women and men who lived in those times and now, in the present. How much has changed and what has remained the same? How can we change and evolve? Why should we develop, grow and change? 

Another example could be Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Why did she write this book, what prompted her to write? What are the experiments related to stem cells? Could these experiments have been influenced by the story or any other literature? How are the different characters in the story relatable? What conditions or situations in the story remind you of our present-day problems? How were outliers viewed in the previous century as compared to the present day? Here are some links to peruse and use for classic analysis with films. 

 PBS Movies with lesson plans

CommonLit – Lesson Plans

Youtube list that houses a variety of Classics

World Classics Movies list

Audio List of Classics

When students watch the movie and read excerpts from the book, impressions about the character, research on the topic, debates and writing reflection can become an interesting learning experience. Variations in the film and its narration can sometimes be taken off from the book narration, those experiences or topics or themes can be analyzed and discussed.