When I was first asked if I wanted to do the Library Educator’s Course, I felt excited at the opportunity to learn more about library work. I was also a bit apprehensive about managing my work and the course simultaneously. But Sujata, my director, put all my fears to rest when she told me that I have her full support.
So with butterflies in my stomach, I went for the first contact session. I did not know what to expect. I was astounded at the diversity in the participants; there were people all over the country and most interestingly, of different academic backgrounds.
I have been to many academic conferences before; most were very dry and I just couldn’t wait for them to end. But LEC redefined it for me; a complex topic like Rosenblatt’s Reader-response theory was explained by incorporating drama in the session. The essential elements of a library were imparted to us through a game with woolen yarn. We learnt about the library movement in India from the ancient to modern times by making chronology charts.
But the best part was the discussions that I had with my fellow participants. I was exposed to many new ideas and ways of thinking; whether it was a poem on caste discrimination or a book review, whether it was deconstructing a research paper or building a mini library, I was fascinated to just listen to their perspectives, and how different they are from my own.
I felt honored to meet the author of the book ‘Under the Neem tree’, Anuradha Rao. Our book review exercise was enriched by the thoughts of this humble and gracious writer. I learnt about the troubles faced by the tribal children in Chattisghar and Jarkhand through Neeraj and Divya who have worked extensively in those regions. I was delighted to meet Namgyal and know her plans for children that come to her library in the Tibetan settlement of Mundgod.
Through JoAnn, who had come from Chennai, I was familiarized about the history of East Indians and the works of Neil Gaiman. I had a very interesting conservation with Parveen about Emotional Intelligence, and learnt about ‘Namma Library’ (‘Our Library’ in Kannada) from Padma and Vinitha (who also happens to be a certified flight instructor).
On the last day of the conference, I was sad to say goodbye to all these remarkable people. For me, this LEC experience was one- of- a – kind that enriched me both personally and professionally. I look forward to meeting all the people again for the next session.