What is the Jarul Book Award?

By | Librarian's Role, Reading and Writing | One Comment
Voted by children for children

Jarul Book Award: Indian Picture Book

Jarul Book Award is the only award in India that gives voice and choice to children. Students from Kindergarten to Standard Five is given a chance to read and vote for the best book. They choose, analyze and critically appreciate by selecting the best picture books based on several criteria. Here is the 2017-18 Jarul Book Award Winner.

India has some great outstanding awards like the Jnanpith Award, Sahitya Akademi Awards with different categories and Hindu Literary Awards. Each of these national awards acknowledges works of authors, illustrators, and publishers whose passion lies in bringing out the best literature for readers. Indian culture has a plethora of folklore, fables, and mythology. It is only recently in the last decade; private organizations have established literary awards to inspire,  acknowledge, appreciate different genres as well as give voice to authors with new ideas. Many awards like the Jarul Book Award,  Crossword AwardBig Little  Book Award, and the Hindu Young Book Awards are among the few that acknowledge creative thinking and celebrate Indian Literature. Thanks to publishers like Karadi Tales, Tulika,  Fingerprint, Katha, Little Latitude and others. Times of India covered this story and helped support Jarul Award. 

Today’s children whether they are in cities, towns, and villages are open-minded, they are thinkers, and they need good literature to inspire them in our modern setting.  Our story must not be like that of  Chimamanda Adichie – The Danger of a Single Story where she believed that her stories she wrote must only have “western characters” and there was no room for characters like herself in Literature. We must create an open environment for our children to explore, dream, write and share their world beyond folklore, mythology or stories that must have a moral at the end.

Encouraging our children to write and share their experiences will only help create empathy and friendships among different ideologies and different cultures. Deccan Herald writes about Obama’s Town Hall visit, where a transgender, who is marginalized, asked what she could do to stop stigmatization. He said, ” The change begins with finding your voice, and you must be able to articulate your views and your experiences, to tell your story, and that is true for any group, marginalized, stigmatized.” Obama said, ” finding the voice and being able to tell that story leads to breaking down of perceptions that “you are different”. Because then people will start to “recognize their own experiences in you.”

Reading picture books and giving children opportunities to write, expressing their experiences and sharing them, bring respect, empathy and most of all friendships. I like what Voltaire said, ” Writing is the painting of the voice.” Let’s give our students an opportunity to express their world through their eyes. Check out the Jarul Book Award Website to empower your students.

How to Prepare for a Library Job Interview?

By | Librarian's Role | 5 Comments

What can you do to have a successful interview that puts you in the league of contemporary librarians?

It’s this time of the year, starting January all the way to June when job openings begin to emerge in both local and international schools. And, one begins to think about newer opportunities. One of my dear friend, says, “Once in a while, going for an interview tells you, your worth in the market.” scary but true! Keeping this in mind, I did a little research on some of the questions that might come up in the interview, apart from the regular ones we prepare for.

Firstly, send in your CV to the human resource department (HR). They will pass your CV to the right person, that’s the general protocol. You will be called and invited.

Secondly, it is important to read up on the latest trends and the school that you are interviewing with. Don’t be afraid to say you do not know.  The interviewers don’t ask what is already mentioned in your CV, what’s the point? Interviewers want to get to know your educational belief and philosophy along with your strengths and weaknesses, your enthusiasm and the desire to learn.  An interview is more of a conversation to get to know each other.

Here is a list of ten questions to help you think about yourself?

  1. Why do you wish to work at our school? What draws you to this institution?
  2. Tell us about two books that you’ve read recently? (Describe rather more than giving the titles of the books – this tell a lot)
  3. The interviewer might give you different scenarios: Suppose a student /parent comes into the library to complete a school project – what would you do?     
  4. Describe your experience using technology and assisting people with technology in any setting?
  5. In your opinion, what are the top 3 things that libraries can do to impact its users and why?
  6. Describe what your interaction or your class looks like when you interact with students?
  7. What according to you are your strengths and weaknesses?
  8. Describe what teamwork or collaboration looks like to you in your experience? 
  9. Describe your management style?
  10. How do you stay current in your field?

Other topics you may want to consider:  Your views on the use of ebooks,  information and media ethically. Different web 2.0 tools that you have used or learning to use.  How would you deal with a problem situation? A successful project that you have been a part of and what makes you tick or enjoy in your role as a librarian.

Here are some questions you may want to ask your interviewer:

  1. What is the decision-making process or the protocol in bringing about changes in the library? ( This is when the Heads are looking to revamp the library and      you may want to know the protocol of the organization)
  2. What databases or software do they currently use? (This will give you time to learn and prepare for your new role)
  3. What kind of training and professional development will I be offered? (This shows your desire to learn and grow)
  4. Would you share some light on the procurement and collection development philosophy or process? (Only if you are interested)
  5. How does the faculty or students or the community view the library at your school? (This will give you a brief overview of your future role and the current situation)

5 skills for today’s librarians

By | Librarian's Role, Media Literacy & Information Literacy | One Comment
Creative Commons: Disha Aswani

Supporting information and media literacy

Education in India is evolving and changing. Teachers are imbibing new ideas and strategies to impact student learning. It’s time for librarians to evolve, change and grow.  With a growth mindset for change and desire to be relevant, there are 5 skills for librarians to learn and build upon:

1. Learn a new tech tool or skill to help all learners, both adults, and students

2.  Skill to  curate, evaluate and use information ethically

3. Skill to decipher fake news from real news

4. Skill to critically evaluate media

5. Skill to create flexible schedules and lessons to support relevant information and learning in a digital world to all

Libraries are meant to be the center of learning and not a storehouse of books. Librarians are no more ‘keeper of books’ but supporters of learners. In this digital age, learning goes beyond the textbooks. Learners use the internet, youtube, and social media to learn about their hobbies, their interests, their queries and for entertainment. So, in today’s times and more than any other time that librarians need not only talk about change and read about the modern changes happening around the world, and take an active part in upskilling their role and positively impact learners.

What is a Librarian’s Role?

By | Librarian's Role | One Comment
medlibrary

Library in an Indian Educational Institution

Historically, we’ve known that Librarians have been a vital resource in developing and maintaining collections of books on various subjects. Libraries have been a place where individuals have congregated to discuss politics, ideas, cultural norms and governance. It used to be a place where ideas were exchanged, argued upon and challenged.  What a lively interactive and learning space it used to be!

Over time, the Library turned into a quiet place where students entered the library to study, use the literature and information in books, and the role of librarians became that of a keeper of information, more like a policeman/policewoman, who maintained the discipline in the library.

Presently, all educational reports state that a library needs to be the hub of all education institutions. Therefore, changing the role and duties of the librarian is important. It is required of the Librarian to not only develop the collection to suit the needs of the clients of the Library but collaborate with teachers to support students in their educational journey. The librarian not only now supports love for reading and learning but must support teachers and students in delivering information, media, and news literacy.

The present role of the Librarians is to help manage books, online databases, perform duties of an information technologist and teach information literacy skills to students or adults so that the individuals can navigate the web of information safely and use information ethically.

Some of the desired traits necessary for being a dynamic Librarian is to

  • Be a reader
  • Be approachable & friendly
  • Be a listener to tease out users needs and interest
  • Continue to learn new skills to enhance one’s role as a librarian