Recently Penguin Random House organised a librarian meet in Delhi. Perhaps, the first time a publishing house in India created a property to celebrate libraries and librarians – cornerstones of the reading community.The first chapter of the meet was at Kolkata. For the closing event in Delhi, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was the keynote speaker.
The Penguin Librarian Meet was organised by Delhi-based children’s bookstore Kool Skool in collaboration with India International Centre. Over 130 librarians participated in a workshop that focused on choosing the right books for children. Conducting it was Andrea Bowie from the Puffin World of Stories project that helps teachers create reading spaces/libraries in schools.
Owner Amit Sarin of Kool Skool was present at the event and shared his views. “To build a strong reading culture in our schools and among our children, it is crucial to train and empower our librarians. Through regular outreach events such as these we hope to give them avenues to build on their skills and knowledge.”Meanwhile Sisodia spoke about the significant role libraries play in a child’s development.
Niti Kumar, senior vice president, marketing, digital and communications, said for kids usually their school libraries are the first introduction to the world of books before commercial bookstores. “And librarians are, perhaps, the only adult other than the parents, who are in a position to influence the reading habit of a child,” he said, adding, “We strongly believe that librarians are custodians of reading and it is important that as publishers we not only acknowledge their contribution but also create opportunities for meaningful conversation and better connections.”
Centred on inculcating the love for reading, the event brought many interesting conversations. At the venue, Ankit Juneja, divisional lead-school sales, Penguin Random House India, announced a program for school children called Bookshelf by Penguin. This programme promises to enable children to choose from books published by Penguin and purchase them at attractive prices as schools register for it. When reading habits are on decline, such a meet raises hope among readers and writers alike.