Descartes, the French mathematician, once said, ” reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries”.
And to read both fiction and nonfiction, from a young age enables children to build a strong understanding of concepts and make sense of the world outside and alike to explore other works of fiction, helps them understand the world of people.
For reading, a pleasant ambience is very crucial. You need an ample amount of time and a useful support framework with access to a variety of resources. Children studying in international schools are blessed with the benefit of a vast collection of books in their library.
When a child starts immersing himself/herself in the books, that is the beginning of a relationship which lasts for years. When this journey begins from a young age, it enables them to have strong fundamentals and opens up their world of knowledge stretches their open-mindedness. Reading a variety of texts improves their outlook and provides them with a different perspective on life.
Since childhood, I have been fascinated with books and stories. I have always made the best use of my school libraries. My primary source was always the Vayanasala, a popular name for the public libraries, near my house. My father had been the president of one of those libraries and hence a key to my legitimate access to numerous books. From where my passion and love for reading grew. These libraries are one of the reasons why Kerala has the most aware citizens in the country. The highest literacy state in India. They are well informed and often able to evaluate government policies, laws and issues that strengthen democracy.
Foundation of these libraries and the public library movement goes back to the times of the visionary King of Travancore, Swathi Thirunal. The building of libraries was a revolution that benefited millions of people in Kerala to different ideas and concepts around the world, spreading the knowledge and giving dignity to their lives. Libraries have always been at the forefront of education, science and technology. I wish his vision had spread throughout India, we would have then been probably one of the developed countries in the world.
My passion for libraries and books comes from my faint memory – the envy when I saw my librarian. The idea of the librarian having access to the variety of books always fascinated me. Books have always been a great friend throughout my childhood. I can travel to remote islands, into the vastness of space and universe, into the dense jungles, into the lives of various inspirational figures, with my books. It fills me with passion, adventure and questions.
I know that all the awards at school that I have won during my childhood goes to the insights provided by some excellent books. Books have helped me build knowledge, and (in a lighter vein) an upper hand among my friends who were quickly impressed with my knowledge that is endowed by books.
Students in my library have this impression that I have read all the books available in the library. Of course, I have not, and I cannot. But my knowledge of the books have helped me, inspire my students and influence them.
It is the attachment to books, and love for the reading that inspired me to take up this profession and impact others. This love continues, and I am sure that this will stay with me forever.
Books come in various shapes nowadays along with the conventional hard copy that we prefer to keep with us. Online publications have brought a paradigm shift, easy to buy and store vast numbers of books in our electronic device and access it whenever and wherever. The search feature in the book makes reading more comfortable and helps me with word definitions and locating information. Most importantly, it helps to reduce the carbon footprint in the world. But it has come with a cost as this digital onslaught has also resulted in distraction with an overwhelming number of books on similar topics.
Book piracy has discouraged various publishers and authors and has cut into their revenue, which in turn has impacted the quality of books. I find e-books very helpful, but the emotional connection I feel with the book in my hand is unmatched.
Anywhere, anytime I can read my book.
In sunlight, in candlelight, I can still look.
In the middle, I can dream
A character from the book, I seem
So much to learn and wonder at,
Can anything beat that?
– By Anila Vimal, World Academy. Bangalore