Helping kids get through the lockdown - the Buguri Library, Bangalore
COVID-19 has impacted everyone, but perhaps most of all children and young people around the globe who have found their childhood interrupted by lockdown and anxiety. That's why the story of the Buguri Library in Bangalore is so inspirational.
A small community-led library, Buguri Library has worked hand-in-hand with parents and educators to develop a special programme of outreach, activity and engagement to help keep children and young people occupied through reading and learning, despite being stuck at home.
In this article from Edex Live, Library Programme Director Lakshmi Karunakaran comments,
"There are no better friends than books and in a pandemic like this, they can help children gain knowledge, overcome fear and deal with stress."
The children that the Buguri Library serves have already known lives of hardship. Focused on supporting the families of people involved in 'ragpicking' (rummaging through refuse in the streets to collect material for salvage) in the cities of Bengaluru, Mysuru and Tumakuru, the library service knows only too well the importance of literacy and education in giving people a chance to escape from the poverty trap that affects millions worldwide.
With a focus on the safety of the children, the library developed an active reading programme. They used smartphones either to engage children and young people directly in reading sessions or to enable them to use their parent's phones to participate via 'tele-conference'. They also recorded these live sessions for distribution via WhatsApp, enabling them to reach even more children. In total, the library has been able to lead collaborative reading activities over over 75 books through this combination of technologies.
When parents started to return to work (taking their mobile devices with them), the library shifted tack once again, using their existing networks to distribute book packs to keep the kids reading. Each pack is accompanied by a worksheet, which the children then photograph and send to their librarian as proof of participation.
The library is soon to begin the careful process of re-opening for face-to-face services, but it is clear from their experience during COVID-19 that they have found a valuable new approach to outreach and public engagement, and that their innovative and practical use of technology has added an important new platform for serving their important community!