Learning to read is the most important activity for any child and is the foundation for all other learning and growth. Yet, reading is often seen as a task and not a pleasurable activity, something that gives you joy, nurtures you and helps you grow. Parag libraries aim to create such spaces where children read for pleasure, feel welcome to come and browse, read a book or sit and listen to a story being read aloud. It welcomes all – those who can read and those who cannot, those who read and those who do not. As one child once said during a visit to a Parag library, “Our library is like a breath of fresh air, different from the mundane and everyday routine of school.”
India’s national curriculum framework (NCF) talks of the importance of school libraries throughout the document. According to the NCF, “Both teachers and children need to be motivated and trained to use the library as a resource for learning, pleasure, and concentration. The school library should be conceptualized as an intellectual space where teachers, children and members of the community can expect to find the means to deepen their knowledge and imagination”.
For majority of Indian children attending government schools, a library becomes a significant part of learning considering non-literate home backgrounds. Thus, one of the roles of the library is to help children get open access to plenty of reading and learning material beyond the textbooks, that can provide strong motivation for them to become literate and access world through children’s literature. Parag works to strengthen existing libraries and create new ones as means for children to access quality children’s literature in Indian language. Over the last few years we have supported 600 libraries across eight states reaching 40,000 children.