Kozhikode: Reading as a hobby has been a casualty as visual media took over our lives in the last few decades. Until a couple of generations ago, Keralites took to books seriously and a library movement flourished even in villages. School students of Koduvally town in this Kerala district have set a model in building up a rich stock of books and cultivating reading habit.
Under a novel initiative, the students set up nearly 5,000 home libraries and read over 50,000 books making use of the spare time that the lockdown over COVID-19 pandemic offered.
The students from 88 schools have so far created 4,565 libraries under the aegis of Koduvally Block Resource Centre as part of the national Samagra Shiksha Project which aims at the all-round improvement of education.
Novel schemes launched by the students to collect books included 'book chit funds', 'book fights' and book fairs.
Some teachers even organised book fairs spending money from their own pockets.
Each home library had 50 to 1,000 books suitable for children. Earlier, many of these houses did not have even a single book.
According to data obtained by teachers and passed on to coordinators of the Samagra Shiksha programme, as many as 51,183 of these books were read by students who set up the libraries and other children who utilised the facility.
During the previous academic year, a target of 1,000 home libraries was set under the 'Sahasra Dalam' project. Later, teachers and parents joined the students in finding books for the library.
With the children's home library initiative turning out to be a big success, teachers' libraries are planned next, said V M Meherali, the project coordinator.