We are members of the Library Student Council at Deepalaya Community Library and Reading Project in Sheikh Sarai. We attend many different schools. We love our community library so much that we want to help start many more libraries in Delhi.
Deepalaya Library is a volunteer and member run community library serving children and adults from low income and low literacy backgrounds. We open the door to reading by issuing hundreds of books each week to our members. And we go a step further when volunteers read aloud to more than two hundred children each week through our Reading Project. Our read-alouds model to children the excitement of reading as thinking.
Over two hundred of the most inquisitive minds gather in our library to borrow books and hear stories read aloud by volunteer Ma'ams and Sirs. These read-alouds are key to opening young minds from impoverished backgrounds to what they have had little exposure to - the great pleasure of reading as an act of thinking. Whether it is a four-year-old sipping juice and listening to a story in our Head Start to Reading class or a fourteen-year-old identifying metaphors in a text in our Upper Group class children understand that their ideas, especially their dissenting ideas are necessary to the process of figuring out a story. Children share with volunteers the responsibility for the day to day operation of the library - carding donated books, cleaning and dusting the library and running the circulation desk. Through the development of critical thinking skills and through ownership of their library, our members are developing an understanding of themselves as empowered citizens of their society.
We are a few weeks from opening our second library and Reading Project in Sanjay Colony for which we need the best books to get young minds thinking. We used donated funds in the past to purchase a full set of Pratham books in Hindi and English for our library in Sheikh Sarai. Of the 2000 plus books in our collections at Sheikh Sarai, no other books get issued out more often than Pratham books. Our children see themselves in these stories; they can relate to the dilemmas, humor and emotions of the characters within. These books spark the most debate amongst children during our read-alouds These are also the books we most often hear children recommending to one another. We need these books to create just such excitement in all the libraries we found, beginning with the next one in Sanjay Colony.