International Conference On Children's Libraries



International Conference On Children's Libraries

By : Nilima Sinha  /  Nov 2010

Early in 2010, 4-6 February, the Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children played host with IBBY  to a three-day International Conference on Children’s Libraries: Building a Book Culture in which librarians, educators, writers, illustrators, publishers and NGOs from 17 countries participated. The 14 speakers were from Sweden, Republic of Korea, Japan, Canada, Australian, Netherland, Singapore, Iran, Indonesia and the USA and 10 from India.

The Chief Guest, former President of India Dr. Abdul Kalam Azad, presented the AWIC Honour Awards to Suddhasatwa Basu (Illustrator), Dr. Mohanty (Researcher), Dr. Manga Devi (Reading Promotion) and S. Sivadasa (Author).

The academic sessions during the three days focussed on The Development Of Libraries, Suitable Reading Material For Children’s Libraries, Children’s Library Services, Children’s Libraries As Catalysts Of Social Change and Children’s Libraries Without Borders providing valuable inputs from all over the globe.

The Recommendations are listed below:

1. Under the UN Convention on Children’s Rights where ‘the best interests of the child’ are supreme, all countries must accept a policy that ‘all children and young people are entitled to libraries’, and seriously work towards establishing such libraries—public, neighbourhood, or school. They should also support/fund NGOs that are already running libraries. 

2. Reading promotion activities are vital to motivate the child to read. They should begin from home through adults/parents who read to children. Dedicated librarians should also organize suitable activities to promote reading habits. 

3. Suitable reading material, which means books read for pleasure and not textbooks, should be made available to libraries, in the local languages and through translations. They should reach remote, rural areas to motivate reading and retain literacy. As books are also effective tools in reducing stress and traumas, they should reach children in areas affected by disasters.

4. There should be a free flow of literature and information. Libraries across nations should interact with each other to share knowledge and to imbibe universal values in the coming generation. 

5. Every country should have a national policy on libraries. A special commission with segments of children’s libraries is a must. People working in the field of children’s libraries should be involved as members of the National Commission.

After the Conference, a number of suggestions from the participating delegates were received.

1. Teachers from the Kendriya Vidyalayas suggested that similar conferences should be held in different zones for government schools under the Ministry of HRD.

2. Several librarians suggested that there should be special segments for training in children’s libraries in the professional library courses.

3. There should be more such conferences and workshops for the benefit of teachers, children and their parents.