By Casey Monteiro
It is the response from the community, especially children, towards their libraries and other initiatives which has been the motivation for Bookworm Library, Panjim, to zealously work towards introducing children to the world of books.
That’s how they have remained steadfast to their commitment to continue providing library services and outreach programs ever since they started, way back in 2005. Founded by Sujata Noronha and Elaine Mendonsa, Bookworm has grown from a library space in St Inez to a much larger library in Mala, Panjim, to starting libraries in Aldona, Saligao, Cacra and Chimbel.
Says Sujata, “The response from the children and community has been tremendous. That’s what has been our driving force. We have looked at library work in a professional capacity.”
Today, Bookworm trains people across the country in Library Education, offering a certificate course in Library Education, certified by the TATA Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
LIBRARIES FOR KIDS?
Sujata, whose work as an educator specialized in literacy, revolving around children’s libraries, says the rationale behind having community libraries is based on the recognition that unless children are surrounded by books and conversations about ideas en vogue, the whole act of reading and writing becomes difficult.
She says the whole idea of libraries is look into how a community space can exist to enrich a child’s experience through books and stories and ideas in a space which is accessible to everyone. And, that’s how Bookworm started.
Bookworm, which formed a trust in 2014, has a moving library as part of their outreach program. “We have now moved from a smaller vehicle to a larger vehicle,” informs Sujata, adding how the travelling library – their first outreach program – goes to different places in Goa, reaching out to communities who do not come to the stand-alone libraries.
TIE-UPS WITH SCHOOLS
Bookworm works with government primary schools and their programs. Their network with primary school teachers helps immensely and the bond developed over time was very useful, especially at a trying time like the COVID pandemic.
During the pandemic, Bookworm played an important role in getting children to continue the reading habit.
Recounts Sujata, “During that time, government teachers felt such a sense of support because we stayed in touch with them. We dropped off boxes of books to schools so that children could stay in touch with reading. We recorded stories and sent them out. We distributed worksheets, stationery materials etc. Each box that we dropped off had a digital device like a tablet, which could help students become comfortable with the medium that was being used to access studies.”
Besides that, they went out bravely in person, supplementing the information regards COVID.
DIVERSIFIED FUNDING PLAN
It’s seldom a smooth ride for a charitable trust to run a social initiative. However, at Bookworm, the diversified funding plan they have helps them sail through without many hurdles.
Their jumble sale, which is run heavily on volunteer help, acts as a fundraiser, too, says Sujata. “We have committed funders and donors who support our programs. We have individual donors, companies helping through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, Goan business houses etc, which helps us immensely,” explains Sujata.
For more details, Bookworm Trust & Library can be reached at the following:
LOCATION: House No 127 (Old Saraswati Vidyalaya), Fontainhas, Panjim
CONTACT: +91 98232 22665