One of the different issues to highlight in the library development program with Rainbow Reading Gardens is the involvement of every part in the school community, including principal, teachers, school committee as well as students.

During the library establishment, librarians will be overwhelmed if they are to get things done all by themselves; therefore, in this program, there are “Student Volunteers”. Their task includes assisting librarians in arranging the library fixtures as well is in helping other students to check out books.

Student Volunteers Tidying Up Books on the Shelves

Student volunteers are usually students from higher grades, namely Grade 4 and/or 5. The selection process of these volunteers across schools may vary. Some schools openly allow students to sign up for student volunteers to later be selected by the teachers. Some student volunteers are appointed by teachers, considering their performance and achievement in class. The appointed student volunteers are all students with high responsibility.

At some schools, I found interesting stories as well as inspiring ones about students volunteers. In this article, I am writing about student volunteers at SD Inpres Namo, Lembor Selatan Sub-district, West Manggarai.

Ibu Heldi, the librarian at SDI Namo shared a story about her little warriors, who have been helping out at the library. A few days after the announcement of student volunteers at the school, there was a student who is willing to be one, yet her name was not on the list nor announced as the student volunteers because she was absent on the day the teachers appointed student volunteers.

Student Volunteers Writing on Check-out Paper

She later begged Ibu Heldi to include her to the list of student volunteers. Ibu Heldi responded positively to her request, even though her name was not listed on the list as it has been put on the library’s wall beforehand. This particular student does not mind whether her name is on the list or not, what matters to her is that she can always be at the library and helps Ibu Heldi. Ah.. Sweet!! 🙂

Student Volunteers and Ibu Meri at Rainbow Reading Gardens at SDN Lancang, West Manggarai

One of the interesting facts about student volunteers at SDI Namo is that each of them has different task. Some are assigned to clean up the library, some are assigned to organize the books on the shelves, some help write down book check-out register and some are even assigned as the security officers! Hahaha… yup, you read it right. Some act as security officers. Those who bear this responsibility are mostly male students. Their tasks include overseeing students around the library and ensuring they get their foot clean when entering the library as well as ensuring bags are left outside the library. Hahaha… it looks unusual, yet this task is essential in maintaining the cleanliness of the library.

Student Volunteers and Ibu Iyut from SDI Munting Kajang, West Manggarai 

When student volunteers who are now in Grade 6, got information that students from Grade 6 are not qualified for student volunteers as they have to prepare for the National Examination, many begged Ibu Heldi, “Ibu… please do not fire me, I will help until I graduate if possible.” Hahaha… fire? very funny… I was laughing out loudly hearing this.

The kind and fun way of nurturing the children will lead to happy souls, as happy as what we see in the students of SDI Namo. We can see how happy they are giving help and service to their fellow friends in the library. This is all because of their love to books. Books have become an important part for them, not to mention that there is not even one bookstore in Flores.

Ibu Heldi, Pustakawati dari SDI Namo yang menginspirasi

In addition to the above story, there is another one which put tears in me. When I was sitting around a number of student volunteers, I asked them about their dreams. Some want to be teachers, doctors, and one answered excitedly, “I want to be a librarian, just like Ibu Heldi”.

I asked her, “Waaaaww.. I am glad to hear that, can you share why do you want to be a Librarian?

I think, being a librarian is fun. I can stay longer at the library, so I can read all the books here,” she said with a bright smile on her face.

To be honest, I was as shocked as I was proud of the way she replied, which means Ibu Heldi has succeeded in playing her role as a librarian, which inspires the students of SDI Namo.

SDI Namo is located on the hill area, with challenging road access, faraway from any bookstore, yet students of SDI Namo is as high spirited as any students can be. We would like to thank Ibu Heldi for her dedication and friendliness in managing the child-friendly library at SDI Namo. We hope the availability of quality books at Rainbow Reading Gardens in the school can inspire students at other schools to love books.

Greetings of Literacy!

Ende, 7 August 2017

Dewi Analis