Cultivating a reading habit is a wonderful way to expand your knowledge, improve your focus, and enhance your overall well-being. And ‘Books on Wheels’ is not a very new concept that South Goa is buzzing about. It has been in Goa for so many years now, only we have not been able to make the best of it, sadly.
A ‘Library on Wheels’ or ‘Books on Wheels’ typically refers to a mobile library or bookmobile—a vehicle equipped with shelves of books that travels to different locations, providing library services to communities that may not have easy access to a stationary library.
Mobile libraries are a creative and effective way to promote literacy, learning and community engagement.
I truly detest the idea of parents not being examples for reading to students and therefore, students not taking up reading. Well, that could certainly be a reason but far from it, the reason for our children not taking up reading is that they aren’t encouraged in schools.
I remember we had competitions being conducted for us so that we would be encouraged to take a book from the library and read it. We are living in a creative time where we need to encourage children to read using these creative means.
At one point, the government schemes gave away laptops and tablets to make students tech-savvy. But no one thought of giving students an Amazon Kindle encouraging them to read.
So it is not just parents but also the government that need to wake up and think of creating these ventures for reading. The physical libraries that are in Goa need the attention of the government to improve them or at least maintain the existing structure.
Unfortunately, they are in a dilapidated state and the stakeholders hardly care about them or push the maintenance requests coming their way.
So it is not about getting books on the wheels that is the need. The need is to take care of these available libraries and improvise them. Children at one point or the other, visit the physical libraries but if you do not create the atmosphere they need they may resort to something more lucrative.
Nevertheless, the mobile library carries a diverse collection of books, including fiction, non-fiction, children’s books and sometimes multimedia resources. The collection is often curated to cater to the interests and needs of the community it serves.
The primary purpose of a library on wheels is to reach communities that may be located in remote areas, lack transportation options, or face other barriers to accessing a traditional library.
By bringing books directly to these communities, a mobile library increases accessibility to information and educational resources.
In addition to lending or selling books, mobile libraries may offer various services such as storytelling sessions, educational programs, book clubs and assistance with library-related activities. Some mobile libraries also provide internet access and other technology resources.
Mobile libraries facilitate community engagement and interaction. They create a sense of community by bringing people together around the shared experience of reading and learning.
Librarians on board can provide assistance, recommendations and information about library resources. There are varied types of books being published in the given time and age. And the visual literature medium is growing exponentially.
So, these mobile libraries may often serve schools, nursing homes, community centres and other institutions. But they too need to be well equipped with the current trends of reading. They do supplement existing library services or provide access to books and resources for those who may not have easy access to a traditional library.
There is also a possibility that these mobile libraries may host special events, workshops and programs to promote literacy and a love for reading.
These events can include author visits, book signings and educational activities for all age groups. But aren’t these activities taking place in our cities where small or large-scale bookstores are present?
How many schools encourage students to participate in such events or conduct such events in their spacious schools? Mobile libraries offer flexibility in schedules, locations and services, catering to diverse community needs.
However, spreading information about new locations is crucial for effective community engagement.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body,” said Joseph Addison. Thus, it is important that we give it the respect that it deserves. One cannot immediately become a voracious reader.
It takes time, thus it is necessary to start with achievable reading goals. Whether it’s a certain number of pages per day or a specific amount of time dedicated to reading, make sure your goals are attainable.
To create a reading-friendly environment, create a comfortable and quiet space, minimize distractions and turn off electronic devices. Incorporate reading into your daily routine, whether before bed, during lunch breaks, or in the morning.
Choose books that genuinely interest you, whether fiction, non-fiction, or a mix of both. Being part of a book club can provide motivation and accountability, making reading a habit.
Discussing books with others can also enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the material. In North Goa, there is a book club by Archana Nagvekar, ‘Out of Context’ and in South Goa, there is a book club by Savia Viegas, ‘Margao Book Club,’ join these book clubs and be encouraged to read and meet authors.
To incorporate reading into your daily routine, consider using e-readers or audiobooks, exploring different genres and trying new books. Track your progress using reading logs or apps, celebrate milestones and adjust goals as needed.
Reduce screen time before bedtime and replace it with reading for better sleep quality. If you have a family, incorporate reading into your daily routine to promote a love for reading and bonding.
Consistency is key to developing a reading habit, so start small, be patient, and gradually increase reading time as it becomes more ingrained in your life.