Celebrating National Library Week 2013 with HSS

In November 2013, soon after the festival of lights, schools in 9 different states across India found time for yet another unique kind of celebration… National Library Week! India has recognized November 14-20th as National Library Week ever since 1968, but this was the first year that schools from across the country were brought together by Hippocampus to celebrate the joy of reading. From North to South and East to West, schools engaged in fun library activities, book-related contests, interactive sessions with authors and illustrators, and good old-fashioned Drop Everything And Read sessions.

While we knew there would be interest in NLW, we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of enthusiasm we saw from students, staff and nearly 30 accomplished authors, illustrators and storytellers who visited schools around the country. It was heartening to see how excited children were to meet these bright minds who are responsible for bringing to life many wonderful stories. At Bangalore International School, award-winning Pakistani-Canadian author Rukhsana Khan talked to children about the realities of conflict and war. At Bishop’s School, Pune, author Sowmya Rajendran conducted an interactive session on gender, friendship and beauty. At Amity School, Delhi, children sang monster songs with author Anuskha Ravishankar, after she read out from her book ‘Moin and the Monster’.

Schools also showed their excitement by sending us countless .photographs of their libraries dotted with NLW posters that promoted reading for joy, and students partaking in our suggested library activities. At The Millenium School, Gurgaon, students and staff decided to Drop Everything And Read outdoors and took beautiful photos to capture the event. We also loved seeing images of colourful character-costume parties from Mayoor School, Delhi, as well as stunning shots of Shishu Mandir students surrounded by a pile of red-coloured leaves while proudly displaying the featured NLW story called, of course, The Red Leaf.  Each day, we received around 20 photos from schools, all of which illustrated their passion for reading and appreciation of their library.

The National Library Week also encouraged students and staff to celebrate reading through their artistic abilities. We were flooded with entries to our Get Caught Reading Photo Contest for staff and Book Cover Design Contest for students. Over 150 photographs and 300 book cover designs were submitted! It was near impossible to choose the winners, but thankfully, we let experts decide. Well-known illustrator Ajanta Guhathakurta named 8th grade student Rudra Narayan from Sishya as the winner of the Book Cover Design Contest for her drawing which “evokes curiosity in the mind.” Respected photographer Mahesh Bhat selected Nilofer Ibrahim – a middle-school math and science teacher from Bangalore International School – as the winning photographer. To see the incredibly creative photograph and book cover, go to http://hsls.hippocampus.in/nlw/685/

Congratulations to our winners and thank you to all the participating schools!

We couldn’t be more thrilled with the turn-out of the National Library Week 2013 celebrations and can’t wait to make the party bigger and better this year!

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