Students at a government school in Mangaluru have started frequenting their institution's library more, thanks to two techies who renovated the facility, which was in a bad shape.
Ashrith Shetty and Sukesh Poojary recently gave a makeover to the library of the Government Primary and High School in Balanje, in Belthangady taluk of Dakshina Kannada.
"Now, the room looks so attractive that the kids have started coming in more. The books that are in the library are very useful, even us teachers are finding them useful because there are some authors whose names we've used in lessons, but whose books we hadn't seen before," says Mohini, an assistant teacher, who has been working with the school for seven years now.
In the academic year 2015-16, the government had asked the school to take a one-line pledge to ensure that at least one of their basic needs are fulfilled in the next three years. While improving the admission rates was one of the suggestions given by the state, the school decided to focus on ensuring that they had a full fledged library instead.
They approached the Parent Teacher Association and other committees, but initially, there was little response. However, a member of the alumni association and a Balanje resident, Anil Nayiga, took interest in the project and decided to get people to help him.
One of the people that Anil approached was Sukesh, but before Anil could make progress with the library, he passed away due to a prolonged illness.
Ashrith Shetty and Sukesh Poojary
"The teachers too had lost hope then. But both Sukesh and I are from the same taluk and we decided to do something about it," says Ashrith, who works with an IT company in Bengaluru.
The infrastructure at the time was falling apart, with cracks on the walls which led to water seepage during rains. The library had sparse furnishing and most importantly, it did not have enough books.
Ashrith states that while the school had a facility for a library, a paltry sum of Rs 5,000 had been allocated by the government for buying books.
The duo started by reaching out to people on their friends list to raise funds, which was used to buy furniture and material, such as paint, for the revamp.
"We collected around Rs 2 lakh. But the locals also pitched in with their services for free. Like, we bought the paint but they painted the library. We also added a collection of books. For this we created a list and people sent us the books. Those who could not send books, donated money," he says.
After two months of work, the library was finally inaugurated last June 12, Anil's birth anniversary as a mark of honour and remembrance.
Anil Nayiga's wife inaugurating the library
The walls have been plastered and painted, the flooring done, bookshelves and a big table have been added in the centre of the room. The library had four computers but none were in working condition, and these too had to be repaired.
"Now they also have a library period for students which they earlier didn't," Ashrith states.
The leftover fund will be used to subscribe to competitive magazines and newspapers for the school.
"We will also use it to conduct workshops for teachers and students. They don't have a computer teacher, so there will be a computer session. There will a library session for teachers," Ashrith says.