Last year, the partnership between Rainbow Reading Gardens and Nagekeo district government had established 40 child-friendly libraries in selected primary schools. Nagekeo district government, through the Department of Education and Culture, assists schools in renovating the physical aspects of the libraries, while Rainbow Reading Gardens will facilitate the library collections, including children’s storybooks, bookshelves, reading tables, and other administrative supplies. Rainbow Reading Gardens team also provides training, support, and library mentoring for one year. As the end of the school support period approaches, there is a need for sustainability plans from the schools, together with the committee, to continue the child-friendly library program in their respective schools.

This story comes from the committee members of SDK Pautola during their routine library inspection. Patrisius Ghildo, a 66-year-old farmer, is one of the alumni of SDK Pautola who now participates as a school committee member. “From early on, all my family members studied here, including my grandson who is now on the third grade, and I have seen the development of SDK Pautola over time,” he said. There was a sparkle in his eyes and a genuine smile on his face as he was invited to review the child-friendly library with the principal and Rainbow Reading Gardens’ team.

Library review at SDK Pautola with the school committee

Mr. Patris was delighted to see children taking colorful storybooks home. “Now it’s good, this library complements the development of children’s literacy here, which is very different from my generation. When I was young, there was no library. If you wanted to read a book, you had to borrow it from the teacher. No one dared to borrow, everyone was afraid. Thankfully, it’s very different now; even the library room is comfortable. I like the colorful walls because they ignite our interest in reading. Now, through this program, I can see that the relationship between teachers and students has improved, like parents and children. My grandson often borrows books and enjoys staying in the library because the librarians are also friendly,” he said. “I believe this child-friendly library is very beneficial for the children here in expanding their knowledge. I think if this library had existed in my elementary school days, I would have definitely enjoyed being here. I am very proud to have a facility like this and I will surely read all the books here until they’re finished. I like interesting books, especially those related to plants. I can read continuously because I am a farmer,” he added.

Mr Patris likes book collections about plants

Gathering the information about the book checkout rate at SDK Pautola, that one student can borrow 2 to 4 books in a month, Mr. Patris’s eyes sparkled even more. He hopes the library program continues and is further developed with parents both at school and at home. “I hope in the future the library continues to be developed, the book collections to be expanded, and a reading garden for children to be built, and most importantly, parental engagement to be implemented. I look forward to doing activities with parents in this library,” he said.

Students are reading in the library during library visiting hour

The principal of SDK Pautola, Moses Wawo, also expressed a similar gratitude to Rainbow Reading Gardens for their collaboration in accompanying the transformation of SDK Pautola’s library into a child-friendly one. “Thank you very much for the support from the Rainbow Reading Gardens team. Despite the distance and challenges, you’ve consistently visited and supported us. We have learned a lot, our children are now enthusiastic readers and book enthusiasts. We will definitely continue this program, and this is a good start. We will schedule activities with parents and the committee in the future to accompany children reading. Let’s continue,” said the headmaster, concluding the library visit with the committee. May the sustainability of the child-friendly library program be introduced at SDK Pautola along with the promising stories to come. Let’s wait and see!