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August 29, 2014

I hate to sound cliched because it might mean we are giving up on our youth, but a book fair in a large school was a good reality test on keeping the faith or giving up

We were invited to conduct a Book Fair on the 12th of August, a day that is dedicated in India to S. R Ranganathan, considered the Father of Library Science in India.

I had three trusty bookworms with me. The entertainer – Sammy Coelho , he was a big help. Sammy is big on positive energy and we needed that through out our 10 hour long day at the Book Fair. Then there was the quiet one , Analiza Rodrigues, who just gets down and does what has to be done and the  Keeper – Niju Mohan, he monitored our time to start and end and efficiently guarded the books and our material during the fair.

So we showed up on time some may say EARLY, since the school had not yet prepped for our arrival. But riding on Sammy’s positive energy and show some love theme, we set up and awaiting the eager readers. We were informed that school book fairs are a regular feature in this school. We were also told the students are organised, excited about books and would participate in the Book fair.

From our end we organised books in the price range of Rs. 10. 00 – Rs. 200/- hoping that no reader would go empty handed. What we did not bargain for is empty headed !!!!

Middle school students came to the tables, looked, liked and left crestfallen. They were not informed about money for the fair. We took heart and rallied and felt that we must stay positive. This pattern went on for most of the morning. We returned books to their honored positions( straight, cover facing up , pretty looking) and waited for the youth – who this book fair was meant to inspire.

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They came , they saw and they abused . Books were rolled, thumped , thrown, curled, and some were read. That was the heartening part, these young people on their way to adult hood looked at picture books with some level of excitement, told each other that ‘ there’ that one is a good one or ‘that’ one is a funny one and some of them sat down to read a book – quietly.

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When I reflect on this day and rely heavily on Sammy’s positive energy these were our takeaways

1. Beautiful driving scenery

2. Camaraderie with the Keeper, Entertainer and the quiet one

3. In-between reading time

4. Watching some young one’s read

5. Awareness of the work ahead

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We also have a list of the kinds of books students asked for , some of them are

1. Jokes and riddles

2. Flower decorations

3. Kids cooking

4. Recipes

5. Inspirational stories

6. Neurological disorders

7. How to become a hacker

8. Herbs and Medicinal plants

We had none of the above, but we will keep trying and hope the students start looking for what we are offering ! Good books !

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