Learning, enrichment, inclusion: This library thinks beyond books

Muscat - 

Even though the use of libraries is changing because of technology, they still offer a lot of benefits especially to children when it comes to enriching their knowledge, and honing their skills. 

The Children’s Public Library in Qurm is a testament to this. Through its programmes, this library not just provides equal access to resources, but also helps develop a sense of community among the children. It also inculcates responsibility and accountability in them. In an interview with Muscat Daily, Buthaina bint Ahmed bin Abdulrasoul Macki, head of the Workshops and Children Programmes at the library, said, the Children’s Public Library is a non-profit organisation which is supported by both organisations and individuals.

“Launched on November 13, 2017, the library targets children from three to 17 years, offering them various sources of information and programmes by encouraging them to read in addition to implanting values and moralities of Omani society. The library also seeks to establish a cultural environment that embraces thoughts and functions as a cultural source for the future generations,” she said.

Buthaina said that the library, besides its conventional duties, also offers events, programmes and workshops to fulfil children’s need for knowledge and entertainment. Besides, the library provides activities that trigger children’s enthusiasm to read and acquire life skills and strengthen self-confidence.

“Some of the activities offered include Alhakawti (The Story Teller), handwriting improvement, skill enhancement, personality building, teamwork, trade awareness and money saving, flower arrangement, découpage and traditional handicrafts. We also conduct programmes focusing on environmental awareness,” she said.

Buthaina explains how the library also believes in assisting parents, childcare providers and those involved in the field of children’s literature.

“We offer programmes focusing on how to write stories for children. There are parenting courses where focus is on using stories as a tool to teach kids. Another programme is called ‘My Child is Reading’ which is a step-by-step coaching technique.”

Asked if such workshops are open to public, Buthaina said, “Yes, they are. Everyone can participate in these workshops, which are announced through our social media pages on Instagram and Twitter and in the near future on the libraries’ website pages.”

She said that the role played by such programmes represent a chance to discover the joy of gaining knowledge.

“In general, these workshops enhance children’s skills related to aspects of culture, knowledge and leadership. In addition, they improve their reading and writing skills. The library also seeks to encourage talents and capacities of children via craftwork and paintings. Such activities are linked to international Omani events and occasions such as ‘The Jewel of Muscat Voyage’ which also enhances their sense of social responsibility,” she said.

On how many beneficiaries have enrolled in such activities so far, Buthaina said, “As many as 1,467 beneficiaries have enrolled so far in 49 workshops or programmes in the past eight months. The library also provides beneficiaries with referential services. There are also drawing and colouring corners, educational games corner and a computer lab. “The Internet services are provided for educational purposes and the library is open to special tours for educational institutions.”

On the institutions supporting the library, Buthaina said there is a strong support from BP Oman. “The library welcomes all forms of support be it financial or contributions in operating and improving the library to keep pace with the latest developments in all fields of knowledge. BP Oman has supported the library through its social investment programme.”

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