As you are well aware of the fact that we are planning to apply for CBSE affiliation shortly. For that purpose we need to fulfill many terms and conditions laid by the board. Library is one of the major organs of the school that the board requires the affiliating schools to maintain. So, we can't move forward with affiliation process without doing the needful for the establishment of a library in our school.
For the establishment of the library we need to follow the CBSE guidelines. According to these guidelines the building should be spacious, well ventilated and well lighted. So, first of all we should mark an spacious room for the new library. I would recommend the last two rooms on the first floor adjoining the science lab for the purpose. As for now these two rooms have been separated from each other by a wall. I would suggest that the middle wall be removed and the rooms joined together. But here I would also suggest that the middle wall not be removed completely but a curve type of arc be left to give the library a aesthetic touch. The door from the last room that opens into the science lab should be kept as it is but should be fitted with glass door with an aluminium frame.
The library floor needs to be a little bit different from the other rooms in the sense that the floor should be of such a material that it can absorb the sound produced by the feet of the walkers to minimize the disturbance and at the same time it should remain as clean as possible. For this I would recommend carpeting of the floor preferably in some dark color i.e. red or green. Care should be taken while purchasing the carpet that the material should be such that it can be cleaned easily.
The furniture in a school library should be of such size/dimensions that the students of all age groups could use it comfortably. Also in a tropical country like India where the hot season prevails for almost nine months the library experts recommend that the sitting chairs should be of such make that air could pass through the seat. Here either we can go for the wooden chairs with canning or buy some readymade chairs with provision for the air to pass through the seat. The tables should be also taken care of. There is a trend in the adjoining schools of purchasing a table with a glass divider in the middle, equipped with tube lights. But I would suggest that we should refrain from such a practice. The tables are costly and at the same time the tube lights are not of much use to the students. Rather being at such a low height they pose a danger to students, who may try to touch them. We should go for locally made wooden tables, preferably of 8 x 4 feet, with a capacity to accommodate 8 students at a time.
The number of tables should be according to the strength of the largest class that we plan to have. As per affiliation by-laws we can't go beyond 30 to 35 students per class. So, we should make provision for accommodating at least 40 students, so that at least one class can sit in the library at a time. For this we should have 5 tables of above dimensions along with 40 chairs.
There should also be one table specially marked for the staff with a sitting capacity of 10 persons at a time with the same number of chairs.
We will also have to buy a table and a chair for the librarian. The table should have drawers etc. with locking provision. Here we should also consider the provision of computer in the library. In such a case we should buy a computer table rather than a simple table for the librarian.
- Book Almirahs:
There are different types of book almirahs being used in libraries. These include almirahs with locking facility, bookcases with individual locking for each shelf and open bookcases to provide open access.
Ours being a school library we can't provide open access to our students. So we should opt for almirahs with locking provision. Here we can choose either simple almirahs with locking facility or bookcases with locking for each individual shelf, depending on the cost and other factors.
The number of such almirahs will vary according to our book collection.
The libraries use some special kind of stationary that is useful in their daily functioning, like, accession register, stock register, stock verification register, members record register, newspaper/magazine register & issue/return register etc. We also need to print some slips etc. for the library, like, authority slips, due date slips and member cards etc. Some special stamps for the library also will be required. So, while planning the library such items should also be taken care of.
According to the CBSE affiliation by-laws the school libraries should maintain 5 books per student. So, if the strength of our school is 700 students then we should have at least 3500 books. Also the books should be of mixed variety, ranging from the textbooks for all classes to the general books. The general books may include the books written on different topics that may be of interest to the students, reference books & general knowledge books etc.
Apart from the books the library should also subscribe to some newspapers/magazines for its readers. We should subscribe at least three newspapers, two English and one Hindi. I would recommend the following dailies:
- The Tribune
- Hindustan Times
- Dainik Jagran or Bhaskar
As for the magazines are concerned there are many different types of magazines for the children. The major among them are:
- Chanda Mama
- Children's Digest etc.
- Competition Success Review
We should also consider at this stage the staffing factor to run the library. We must engage some well qualified and experienced professional at this very stage. The librarian should be full time and we should make it mandatory that each class has at least one library period in a week. This way all of our students can benefit from the library material and the costs that we are going to spent on our library will be justified.
The most important factor for establishing a library is the money that we are going to spend on the library. Here I would recommend that we should divide the total spending into different budget heads, like, building, furniture, staffing & books etc. The library budget should be maintained separately. We can also charge some library fees from our students. In future we should earmark some specific percentage of total school budget for the library. While calculating the annual budget of the library we should also take care of the staff salary.