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THE WALKING LIBRARIANS IN KERALA;
A TALE OF EMPOWERING WOMEN AND THE ELDERLY WOVEN INTO
THE FABRIC OF UN SDG GOALS
Ms. Husna KT
Dept of Library and Information Science
University of Calicut |Kerala |India
husnakanooth@gmail.com
IFLA ENSULIB WEBINAR SERIES
Dr. Syamili C.
Assistant Professor
Dept of Library and Information Science
University of Calicut |Kerala |India
drsyamili@uoc.ac.in
DEPT OF LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE
UNIVERSITY OF CALICUT
OVERVIEW
Introduction: Kerala and library history.
1.
Book Distribution Project for Women and Elderly: An Overview
2.
Research Questions:
3.
Methodology: Research approach
4.
Librarians' Choice: Opting for walking delivery
5.
Working Style: Conduct of women-walking librarians.
6.
Work Distribution: Allocation of tasks.
7.
Book Delivery Process: Step-by-step explanation.
8.
Primary Customers and Membership: Target audience and sign-up process.
9.
Salary and Support: Compensation and assistance details.
10.
Impact on Librarians and Community: Effects on livelihoods and community
empowerment.
11.
Alignment with SDGs and Conclusion: Connection to Sustainable
Development Goals and Final Thoughts
12.
KERALA: LIBRARIES ARE MORE THAN JUST A READING SPACE
Kerala is blessed with an abundance of public
libraries, which also engage in rural extension
activities, social awareness programs, cultural
initiatives, and community interactive
programs.
The public libraries in Kerala operate under a
unique grading system, starting from grade F
and progressing to the highest grade, A+.
These grades signify the quality and range of
services offered by the libraries.
1829
Thiruvananthapuram
Public Library was
established in 1829,
during the tenure of
Swathi Thirunal
1945
A meeting of 47
delegates under the
leadership of P N
Panicker, who is
known as the father
of the library
movement in Kerala
1937
library movement
intertwined intricately with
the nationalist movement
as well as Left-leaning and
other progressive
movements.
Kerala’s glory as the most
literate state libraries in
Kerala have been hosting
night classes
1989
Public Library Act
1994
The Kerala Library
Council was
instituted
THE HISTORY OF KERALA'S LIBRARY MOVEMENT
State Library Council
District Library Council
Taluk Library Council
Organizational Chart
STATE LIBRARY COUNCIL
The Kerala State Library Council (KSLC) operates as an independent
organization within the Higher Education Department of the Government
of Kerala.
It serves as the official governing body for public libraries throughout the
state.
The administration of libraries in Kerala follows a three-tier system
established by the Public Library Legislation of 1989.
This system comprises the State Library Council, District Library Councils,
and Taluk Library Councils.
Each tier's members are democratically elected, ensuring representation
from the village library level and beyond.
The public library movement in Kerala enjoys significant participation
from the public, making it an effective network that reaches the
grassroots of society.
The State Library Council affiliates approximately 8495 libraries, which
are classified into different grades (A+, A, B, C, D, E, and F) based on
specific criteria and standards.
In Kerala, the concept of a library transcends mere reading; it evolves into a dynamic
nucleus where the rich fabric of cultural diversity is intricately interwoven. Beyond
fostering a passion for literature, a village library in Kerala frequently morphs into a
vibrant platform for cultural interactions, showcasing exhibitions, hosting film festivals
and various performances.
BOOK DISTRIBUTION PROJECT FOR WOMEN AND ELDERLY
K P Radhamani, A walking Librarian from Wayand
1997
•The book distribution
program initiated
2006
•The book distribution
program implemented in
50 selected libraries
•The state library council
made a decision to
terminate approximately
100 walking librarians
2023
A move to dissolve the
500 walking librarians
under the book
distribution scheme
2021
EVOLUTION OF BOOK DISTRIBUTION PROJECT FOR WOMEN
AND ELDERLY
What is Book Distribution Project for Women and Elderly
"The Book Distribution Project for Women and Elderly," is an initiative aimed at
providing books and reading materials to women and elderly individuals in Kerala.
The Kerala State Library Council in collaboration with various libraries and
institutions implements the project.
The women and elderly book distribution scheme was started in1997 to bring more
women into the books and library movement.
The scheme was initially implemented in 50 selected libraries in connection with the
golden jubilee of Indian independence.
This project is still going on with the intention of providing reading facilities to
women and senior citizens who cannot reach the libraries and get books.
Book Distribution Project for Women and Elderly
The primary objective of the Vanitha Vayojaka
Pusthaka Vitharana Paddithi is to promote literacy,
knowledge, and intellectual engagement among
women and elderly citizens. By making books easily
accessible to these groups, the project aims to
empower them and enhance their overall well-being.
Book Distribution Project for Women and Elderly
The scheme came into action in 2007. The book
distribution scheme was started in 1997 to bring more
women into the books and library movement.
The scheme was initially implemented in 50 selected
libraries in connection with the golden jubilee of Indian
independence.
These walking librarians play a crucial role in ensuring the
success of the project by delivering books and promoting
literacy among the targeted demographics.
However, it seems that no research regarding this specific
initiative have been released in the past 16 years.
The lack of available information suggests a lack of public
documentation on the progress, outcomes, or
developments related to this project during that period.
A Bookish Mother, Documentary on Walking Librarian of Wayand, KP
Radhamani
The goal of this study is to look into the life women
librarians who is working under the program. The study
investigate the effect and efficiency of the program,
which promote reading habit among rural people.
It will also investigate women's participation in the
program and how the scheme is connected to the UN’s
sustainable development goals.
Key Enquiry
Research Questions:
RQ 1: To identify the role of the “Women Elderly Book Distribution Scheme” in helping
women in their livelihood.
RQ 2: To study the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of “Women and Elderly Book
Distribution Scheme” in developing the reading habit among the rural people in Kerala.
RQ 3: To critically evaluate the “Women and Elderly Book Distribution Scheme” and to
study the problems and limitations of the program.
RQ 4: To propose ways and means for improving “Women and Elderly Book Distribution
Scheme” to ensure its outreach to women, old aged, disabled and children
RQ 5: To check how the ‘UN’s Sustainable Development Goals & libraries’ matches with
“women Elderly Book Distribution Scheme” of Kerala
Methodology
01
Unstructured interview,
participant observation
and telephonic interview
are used.
To collect the contact
information of library,
investigator send right to
information act to state
library council. By using
RTI act, investigator
collected contact
information of women
librarians from district and
taluk library council.
02
Investigator used
unstructured
questionnaire for
telephonic interview
with women librarian.
Investigator prepared
unstructured questions
with objectives. The
other methods are
used participant
observational method
and telephonic
interview to collect
data.
03
In Participant
observation method,
investigator travelled
with the subject to
observe book
distribution process .
The researcher
travelled with them
from morning to
afternoon.
Investigator collected
photographs and
details from the
observation process.
Sampling
Universe of the study is the total women librarians of women and elderly book distribution scheme.
631 women librarians are currently working under the Kerala state library council.
Stratified sampling method: Kerala state comprises 14 districts, with each
individual district being designated as strata for analytical purposes.
Simple Random sampling method: Investigator selected three librarians
based on simple random sampling in each strata. To conduct the interview,
participants were randomly selected from each strata.
Snowball sampling method: from one librarian data of another has been
collected and this method is followed for every strata
Study Variables for the study
Working style of women walking librarians
work distributions of walking librarians
The process of book delivery by walking librarians
Membership process women and elderly book distribution program
Assistance from the state library council for women and elderly book distribution
program.
Walking Librarians livelihood and impact on their social life
Social connections evolved during the women and elderly book distribution program.
Role the Women and Elderly Book Distribution Scheme in developing reading habits
among rural people.
Difficulties and limitations of the women and elderly book distribution program
Work distributions of walking librarians
Multiple Entry Points: Participants joined the library program at
various points in time, ranging from 2006 to as recent as 2021.
Unique Circumstances: Some participants joined due to specific
circumstances, such as the resignation or maternity leave of
previous librarians, job vacancies, or recommendations from
acquaintances.
Longevity of Participation: Several participants have been involved
in the program for a significant duration, with tenures ranging from
5 to 12 years.
Family and Community Involvement: In some cases, familial or
community ties influenced participation, with relatives or
neighbors encouraging individuals to join the program.
Transition from Other Professions: Some participants transitioned
from other professions, such as teaching or working in schools, to
join the library program.
Work distributions of walking librarians
For the smooth running of the project, the librarian should know the houses within a 100-meter radius of
the library as well as the places in the religion.
The library committee interviews and selects women who are active in the social service of the region. In
some cases, panjaayath president as well as library committee members recommend the candidates.
Commitment Despite Challenges: Despite facing challenges such as tough life circumstances or the poor
performance of previous librarians, participants showed commitment to the program.
Continuity and Succession: Succession planning was evident, with participants stepping in to fill
vacancies or take over when previous librarians resigned or could not perform adequately.
Recommendations and Selection Process: Participants were recommended by committee members or
selected through interviews for their roles as librarians.
Varied Backgrounds: Participants came from diverse backgrounds, including teaching, school work,
nursery teaching, and PSC preparation, bringing varied skills and experiences to the program.
Working style of women walking librarians
The number of members varies in each section, leading to a difference in the
number of houses covered each day.
Librarians typically cover around 25 houses per day, selecting books from the
library based on members' preferences and recording details in a register.
Approximately 20 to 25 books are taken for distribution each day, with some
books returned from previous distributions.
The State Library Council provides bags for carrying books, with some librarians
opting for larger bags due to the weight on their shoulders.
Working style of women walking librarians
The primary target groups include housewives, expectant mothers, pensioners,
and the elderly.
Customers are required to pay 10 rupees to participate in the program, payable
monthly.
If the members' are not willing to pay the monthly fee, librarians do not enforce it
strictly.
A library's book distribution program must have a minimum of 150 members.
Members have the option to pay 60 rupees for a one-year membership or a one-
time fee of 1000 rupees for a lifetime membership.
Customers can become library members by paying 100 rupees, allowing them to
vote in library elections.
Salary and assistance from the state library
council
The monthly salary is Rs. 4120, with Rs. 120 deducted for funds.
The salary is transferred to the district library council, which then distributes to the
taluk councils.
Salary is paid in two installments annually.
A lump sum of Rs. 24,000 is given every six months.
Additionally, the library council provides Rs. 1500 to Rs. 1700 for Onam, along with a
book bag for carrying books.
The process of book delivery by walking librarians:
The book distribution occurring on a six-day
schedule each week.
Various registers, including the issue register,
route diary, book register, membership register,
and monthly fee register, are employed for
tracking purposes.
The primary register utilized is the issue register,
particularly during book distribution.
Some librarians conduct book delivery on
Sundays, taking advantage of the day off when
most individuals are at home.
Walking librarians are obligated to submit
monthly reports to both the taluk library council
and district library council.
Walking Librarian's livelihood and impact on their
social life
All women librarians in the project are passionate
about reading.
There have been many changes to librarians since
they joined the program.
Some of them are retired workers. Therefore, they
found peace in the book distribution.
Librarians said they could be a little more active in
regional affairs as well as with books.
Many librarians have been in the project for many
years and local people know them very well.
Most of the librarians are fond of the project and
they consider it as a service.
01
“House wives are the ones
who are mostly involved in
the project. People of
different ages, both young
and retired, are
participating. This scheme
is a great source of
encouragement for those
living in houses. “
02
“Women prefer
novels more and can
choose from
travelogues,
historical events,
and other books to
read. In my opinion,
this project enables
women's
empowerment
through reading”
Walking Librarian's livelihood and impact on their
social life
”
”
”
”
Influence on community’s daily lives and librarian
opinion on women's empowerment
The majority of participants reside in households and share a passion for reading while at home.
This initiative serves as a strong motivator for individuals living in households.
There is a keen interest in reading among people, yet accessing libraries may not be convenient.
Therefore, delivering books directly to their homes offers them significant reassurance.
The library frequently hosts events, and participants will be notified about them during book
delivery. Nearly everyone attends these programs.
Books transport individuals to new realms. Through reading new books, women acquire a wealth
of information they previously did not possess.
Most librarians believe that this project plays a pivotal role in empowering women through the act
of reading.
Social connections evolved during the program.
Librarians mentioned that delivering books to households for a specific
duration integrates them into those households. There's a level of trust
where they share both concerns and joys. If a librarian happens to take a
day off, some members express their concern. Once they finish reading a
book, they'll call to request a new one.
According to reports, the program has significantly impacted the lives of
certain members. Elderly participants feel a stronger connection to the
librarians, eagerly anticipating the book distribution.
Some members have formed deep bonds with librarians, considering
them as part of their family.
01
Providing books to households for a
certain duration feels like being a part
of those households. They confide in
me, sharing both their sorrows and
joys. If I happen to take a day off, they
express concern and inquire about my
well-being. Occasionally, even before
I reach out, they proactively inform me
about the books they desire. When
everyone enjoys reading it, I will
gladly share the book they are
searching for anytime. It is a
wonderful bond that we share,
fostering a strong and positive
relationship.
02
“The disabled and
elderly are highly
enthusiastic about
participating in the
program. They are
eager to learn
about the events at
the library”
Social connections evolved during the program.
”
”
”
”
Women and Elderly Book Distribution Scheme in
developing reading habits among rural people
During a time when reading habits are on the decline, this initiative holds paramount
importance in nurturing reading habits among individuals. For certain members,
books hold immense significance in their lives.
Elderly individuals often find themselves at home with little to occupy their time.
Delivering books to them brings great relief.
Many housewives were avid readers in their youth. Librarians note their joy when
they have the opportunity to revisit books from their past.
For most individuals, having books delivered to their doorstep is a tremendous
blessing.
According to a librarian, men, children, and middle-aged individuals have all
rediscovered the joy of reading through this distribution scheme.
In an era where online learning is increasingly prevalent and books are more
accessible, some young people are forming stronger connections with reading, as
noted by a librarian.
Difficulties and limitations of the program
The salary provided is insufficient for the workload, presenting financial
challenges.
Despite the low wage, workers manage their responsibilities independently
without encountering significant issues.
Delivering books serves as an enjoyable activity for many workers, offering
them entertainment.
Rain poses a significant challenge during book distribution, affecting
workers' ability to carry out their tasks efficiently.
Aligning Book
Distribution
Initiatives with
Sustainable
Development Goals:
Empowering
Women and the
Elderly
The researcher connected
the outcomes of the Book
Distribution Project for
Women and Elderly with the
Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs) by highlighting
the alignment between the
project's objectives and the
broader aims of the SDGs.
Specifically, the project's
focus on empowering
women, promoting literacy,
and fostering community
connections directly relates
to several SDGs.
Health Education
Mental Health Cognitive Health
Social Well-being Access to Healthcare Information Physical Well-being
SDG 3 Good Health and Well-being
The provision of essential books, including those related to studies and competitive exams, contributes
indirectly to good health and well-being. Access to educational resources can empower individuals and
improve overall health outcomes, supporting SDG 3.
Literacy Promotion Access to Education: Skills Development
Lifelong Learning Inclusive Education Community Engagement:
Collect unwanted books
from your community
and donate them to
libraries or charities.
SDG 4 Quality Education
The distribution of books and the role of librarians in promoting reading suggest a focus on enhancing
educational opportunities. Access to books and reading materials supports quality education, which is the
essence of SDG 4.
Equal Participation and
Representation
Promotion of Women's Rights:
Combatting Stereotypes and
Discrimination
Inclusive and Accessible
Services:
Empowerment Through
Education
Fostering Supportive
Communities:
SDG 5 Gender Equality
The predominance of women in the book distribution program and the emphasis on providing membership only to
women indicate efforts towards gender equality. By empowering women through literacy and access to books, this
program contributes to SDG 5.
Employment
Opportunities
Empowerment
Through Work
Promotion of
Entrepreneurship
Skills Development:
Community Economic
Development:
Promotion of Inclusive
Growth:
SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
The work of librarians in distributing books, often through walking to households, reflects efforts towards decent
work and economic growth. By providing services and employment opportunities, especially for women, this initiative
contributes to SDG 8.
Equal Access to Resources: Addressing Gender-Based Disparities: Supporting Vulnerable Groups:
Community Inclusion: Reducing Disparities in Education:
SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities
By ensuring that everyone in a household has access to membership in the book distribution program, regardless
of gender, the initiative works towards reducing inequalities within communities, aligning with SDG 10.
Collaborative Efforts: Resource Mobilization:
Stakeholder
Engagement:
Sustainable
Development:
Cross-Sector
Collaboration:
Knowledge Sharing:
SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals
The organization of joint events and collaboration among women librarians highlight the importance of
partnerships in achieving common objectives. This aspect aligns with SDG 17, which emphasizes the need for
collaborative efforts to address global challenges.
Conclusion
With over 600 women librarians in Kerala, the project holds significant importance
in the realm of women's empowerment. Kerala, where women's participation in the
workforce is traditionally low, stands to benefit greatly from initiatives that elevate
women's roles and amplify their contributions. By shedding light on the experiences
of women librarians, this study not only highlights the challenges they face but also
underscores the importance of empowering women to participate actively in
various fields of work. Through such projects, Kerala can pave the way for greater
gender equality and inclusive development, ensuring that women have equal
opportunities to thrive and contribute to society.
Photo Story of a Walking Librarian
THANK YOU
write to us:
drsyamili@uoc.ac.in
husnakanooth@gmail.com

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The IFLA ENSULIB Webinar Series #11: The Walking Librarians in Kerala

  • 1. THE WALKING LIBRARIANS IN KERALA; A TALE OF EMPOWERING WOMEN AND THE ELDERLY WOVEN INTO THE FABRIC OF UN SDG GOALS Ms. Husna KT Dept of Library and Information Science University of Calicut |Kerala |India husnakanooth@gmail.com IFLA ENSULIB WEBINAR SERIES Dr. Syamili C. Assistant Professor Dept of Library and Information Science University of Calicut |Kerala |India drsyamili@uoc.ac.in DEPT OF LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF CALICUT
  • 2. OVERVIEW Introduction: Kerala and library history. 1. Book Distribution Project for Women and Elderly: An Overview 2. Research Questions: 3. Methodology: Research approach 4. Librarians' Choice: Opting for walking delivery 5. Working Style: Conduct of women-walking librarians. 6. Work Distribution: Allocation of tasks. 7. Book Delivery Process: Step-by-step explanation. 8. Primary Customers and Membership: Target audience and sign-up process. 9. Salary and Support: Compensation and assistance details. 10. Impact on Librarians and Community: Effects on livelihoods and community empowerment. 11. Alignment with SDGs and Conclusion: Connection to Sustainable Development Goals and Final Thoughts 12.
  • 3. KERALA: LIBRARIES ARE MORE THAN JUST A READING SPACE Kerala is blessed with an abundance of public libraries, which also engage in rural extension activities, social awareness programs, cultural initiatives, and community interactive programs. The public libraries in Kerala operate under a unique grading system, starting from grade F and progressing to the highest grade, A+. These grades signify the quality and range of services offered by the libraries.
  • 4. 1829 Thiruvananthapuram Public Library was established in 1829, during the tenure of Swathi Thirunal 1945 A meeting of 47 delegates under the leadership of P N Panicker, who is known as the father of the library movement in Kerala 1937 library movement intertwined intricately with the nationalist movement as well as Left-leaning and other progressive movements. Kerala’s glory as the most literate state libraries in Kerala have been hosting night classes 1989 Public Library Act 1994 The Kerala Library Council was instituted THE HISTORY OF KERALA'S LIBRARY MOVEMENT
  • 5. State Library Council District Library Council Taluk Library Council Organizational Chart STATE LIBRARY COUNCIL The Kerala State Library Council (KSLC) operates as an independent organization within the Higher Education Department of the Government of Kerala. It serves as the official governing body for public libraries throughout the state. The administration of libraries in Kerala follows a three-tier system established by the Public Library Legislation of 1989. This system comprises the State Library Council, District Library Councils, and Taluk Library Councils. Each tier's members are democratically elected, ensuring representation from the village library level and beyond. The public library movement in Kerala enjoys significant participation from the public, making it an effective network that reaches the grassroots of society. The State Library Council affiliates approximately 8495 libraries, which are classified into different grades (A+, A, B, C, D, E, and F) based on specific criteria and standards.
  • 6. In Kerala, the concept of a library transcends mere reading; it evolves into a dynamic nucleus where the rich fabric of cultural diversity is intricately interwoven. Beyond fostering a passion for literature, a village library in Kerala frequently morphs into a vibrant platform for cultural interactions, showcasing exhibitions, hosting film festivals and various performances.
  • 7. BOOK DISTRIBUTION PROJECT FOR WOMEN AND ELDERLY K P Radhamani, A walking Librarian from Wayand
  • 8. 1997 •The book distribution program initiated 2006 •The book distribution program implemented in 50 selected libraries •The state library council made a decision to terminate approximately 100 walking librarians 2023 A move to dissolve the 500 walking librarians under the book distribution scheme 2021 EVOLUTION OF BOOK DISTRIBUTION PROJECT FOR WOMEN AND ELDERLY
  • 9. What is Book Distribution Project for Women and Elderly "The Book Distribution Project for Women and Elderly," is an initiative aimed at providing books and reading materials to women and elderly individuals in Kerala. The Kerala State Library Council in collaboration with various libraries and institutions implements the project. The women and elderly book distribution scheme was started in1997 to bring more women into the books and library movement. The scheme was initially implemented in 50 selected libraries in connection with the golden jubilee of Indian independence. This project is still going on with the intention of providing reading facilities to women and senior citizens who cannot reach the libraries and get books.
  • 10. Book Distribution Project for Women and Elderly The primary objective of the Vanitha Vayojaka Pusthaka Vitharana Paddithi is to promote literacy, knowledge, and intellectual engagement among women and elderly citizens. By making books easily accessible to these groups, the project aims to empower them and enhance their overall well-being.
  • 11. Book Distribution Project for Women and Elderly The scheme came into action in 2007. The book distribution scheme was started in 1997 to bring more women into the books and library movement. The scheme was initially implemented in 50 selected libraries in connection with the golden jubilee of Indian independence. These walking librarians play a crucial role in ensuring the success of the project by delivering books and promoting literacy among the targeted demographics. However, it seems that no research regarding this specific initiative have been released in the past 16 years. The lack of available information suggests a lack of public documentation on the progress, outcomes, or developments related to this project during that period.
  • 12. A Bookish Mother, Documentary on Walking Librarian of Wayand, KP Radhamani
  • 13. The goal of this study is to look into the life women librarians who is working under the program. The study investigate the effect and efficiency of the program, which promote reading habit among rural people. It will also investigate women's participation in the program and how the scheme is connected to the UN’s sustainable development goals. Key Enquiry
  • 14. Research Questions: RQ 1: To identify the role of the “Women Elderly Book Distribution Scheme” in helping women in their livelihood. RQ 2: To study the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of “Women and Elderly Book Distribution Scheme” in developing the reading habit among the rural people in Kerala. RQ 3: To critically evaluate the “Women and Elderly Book Distribution Scheme” and to study the problems and limitations of the program. RQ 4: To propose ways and means for improving “Women and Elderly Book Distribution Scheme” to ensure its outreach to women, old aged, disabled and children RQ 5: To check how the ‘UN’s Sustainable Development Goals & libraries’ matches with “women Elderly Book Distribution Scheme” of Kerala
  • 15. Methodology 01 Unstructured interview, participant observation and telephonic interview are used. To collect the contact information of library, investigator send right to information act to state library council. By using RTI act, investigator collected contact information of women librarians from district and taluk library council. 02 Investigator used unstructured questionnaire for telephonic interview with women librarian. Investigator prepared unstructured questions with objectives. The other methods are used participant observational method and telephonic interview to collect data. 03 In Participant observation method, investigator travelled with the subject to observe book distribution process . The researcher travelled with them from morning to afternoon. Investigator collected photographs and details from the observation process.
  • 16. Sampling Universe of the study is the total women librarians of women and elderly book distribution scheme. 631 women librarians are currently working under the Kerala state library council. Stratified sampling method: Kerala state comprises 14 districts, with each individual district being designated as strata for analytical purposes. Simple Random sampling method: Investigator selected three librarians based on simple random sampling in each strata. To conduct the interview, participants were randomly selected from each strata. Snowball sampling method: from one librarian data of another has been collected and this method is followed for every strata
  • 17. Study Variables for the study Working style of women walking librarians work distributions of walking librarians The process of book delivery by walking librarians Membership process women and elderly book distribution program Assistance from the state library council for women and elderly book distribution program. Walking Librarians livelihood and impact on their social life Social connections evolved during the women and elderly book distribution program. Role the Women and Elderly Book Distribution Scheme in developing reading habits among rural people. Difficulties and limitations of the women and elderly book distribution program
  • 18. Work distributions of walking librarians Multiple Entry Points: Participants joined the library program at various points in time, ranging from 2006 to as recent as 2021. Unique Circumstances: Some participants joined due to specific circumstances, such as the resignation or maternity leave of previous librarians, job vacancies, or recommendations from acquaintances. Longevity of Participation: Several participants have been involved in the program for a significant duration, with tenures ranging from 5 to 12 years. Family and Community Involvement: In some cases, familial or community ties influenced participation, with relatives or neighbors encouraging individuals to join the program. Transition from Other Professions: Some participants transitioned from other professions, such as teaching or working in schools, to join the library program.
  • 19. Work distributions of walking librarians For the smooth running of the project, the librarian should know the houses within a 100-meter radius of the library as well as the places in the religion. The library committee interviews and selects women who are active in the social service of the region. In some cases, panjaayath president as well as library committee members recommend the candidates. Commitment Despite Challenges: Despite facing challenges such as tough life circumstances or the poor performance of previous librarians, participants showed commitment to the program. Continuity and Succession: Succession planning was evident, with participants stepping in to fill vacancies or take over when previous librarians resigned or could not perform adequately. Recommendations and Selection Process: Participants were recommended by committee members or selected through interviews for their roles as librarians. Varied Backgrounds: Participants came from diverse backgrounds, including teaching, school work, nursery teaching, and PSC preparation, bringing varied skills and experiences to the program.
  • 20. Working style of women walking librarians The number of members varies in each section, leading to a difference in the number of houses covered each day. Librarians typically cover around 25 houses per day, selecting books from the library based on members' preferences and recording details in a register. Approximately 20 to 25 books are taken for distribution each day, with some books returned from previous distributions. The State Library Council provides bags for carrying books, with some librarians opting for larger bags due to the weight on their shoulders.
  • 21. Working style of women walking librarians The primary target groups include housewives, expectant mothers, pensioners, and the elderly. Customers are required to pay 10 rupees to participate in the program, payable monthly. If the members' are not willing to pay the monthly fee, librarians do not enforce it strictly. A library's book distribution program must have a minimum of 150 members. Members have the option to pay 60 rupees for a one-year membership or a one- time fee of 1000 rupees for a lifetime membership. Customers can become library members by paying 100 rupees, allowing them to vote in library elections.
  • 22. Salary and assistance from the state library council The monthly salary is Rs. 4120, with Rs. 120 deducted for funds. The salary is transferred to the district library council, which then distributes to the taluk councils. Salary is paid in two installments annually. A lump sum of Rs. 24,000 is given every six months. Additionally, the library council provides Rs. 1500 to Rs. 1700 for Onam, along with a book bag for carrying books.
  • 23. The process of book delivery by walking librarians: The book distribution occurring on a six-day schedule each week. Various registers, including the issue register, route diary, book register, membership register, and monthly fee register, are employed for tracking purposes. The primary register utilized is the issue register, particularly during book distribution. Some librarians conduct book delivery on Sundays, taking advantage of the day off when most individuals are at home. Walking librarians are obligated to submit monthly reports to both the taluk library council and district library council.
  • 24. Walking Librarian's livelihood and impact on their social life All women librarians in the project are passionate about reading. There have been many changes to librarians since they joined the program. Some of them are retired workers. Therefore, they found peace in the book distribution. Librarians said they could be a little more active in regional affairs as well as with books. Many librarians have been in the project for many years and local people know them very well. Most of the librarians are fond of the project and they consider it as a service.
  • 25. 01 “House wives are the ones who are mostly involved in the project. People of different ages, both young and retired, are participating. This scheme is a great source of encouragement for those living in houses. “ 02 “Women prefer novels more and can choose from travelogues, historical events, and other books to read. In my opinion, this project enables women's empowerment through reading” Walking Librarian's livelihood and impact on their social life ” ” ” ”
  • 26. Influence on community’s daily lives and librarian opinion on women's empowerment The majority of participants reside in households and share a passion for reading while at home. This initiative serves as a strong motivator for individuals living in households. There is a keen interest in reading among people, yet accessing libraries may not be convenient. Therefore, delivering books directly to their homes offers them significant reassurance. The library frequently hosts events, and participants will be notified about them during book delivery. Nearly everyone attends these programs. Books transport individuals to new realms. Through reading new books, women acquire a wealth of information they previously did not possess. Most librarians believe that this project plays a pivotal role in empowering women through the act of reading.
  • 27. Social connections evolved during the program. Librarians mentioned that delivering books to households for a specific duration integrates them into those households. There's a level of trust where they share both concerns and joys. If a librarian happens to take a day off, some members express their concern. Once they finish reading a book, they'll call to request a new one. According to reports, the program has significantly impacted the lives of certain members. Elderly participants feel a stronger connection to the librarians, eagerly anticipating the book distribution. Some members have formed deep bonds with librarians, considering them as part of their family.
  • 28. 01 Providing books to households for a certain duration feels like being a part of those households. They confide in me, sharing both their sorrows and joys. If I happen to take a day off, they express concern and inquire about my well-being. Occasionally, even before I reach out, they proactively inform me about the books they desire. When everyone enjoys reading it, I will gladly share the book they are searching for anytime. It is a wonderful bond that we share, fostering a strong and positive relationship. 02 “The disabled and elderly are highly enthusiastic about participating in the program. They are eager to learn about the events at the library” Social connections evolved during the program. ” ” ” ”
  • 29. Women and Elderly Book Distribution Scheme in developing reading habits among rural people During a time when reading habits are on the decline, this initiative holds paramount importance in nurturing reading habits among individuals. For certain members, books hold immense significance in their lives. Elderly individuals often find themselves at home with little to occupy their time. Delivering books to them brings great relief. Many housewives were avid readers in their youth. Librarians note their joy when they have the opportunity to revisit books from their past. For most individuals, having books delivered to their doorstep is a tremendous blessing. According to a librarian, men, children, and middle-aged individuals have all rediscovered the joy of reading through this distribution scheme. In an era where online learning is increasingly prevalent and books are more accessible, some young people are forming stronger connections with reading, as noted by a librarian.
  • 30. Difficulties and limitations of the program The salary provided is insufficient for the workload, presenting financial challenges. Despite the low wage, workers manage their responsibilities independently without encountering significant issues. Delivering books serves as an enjoyable activity for many workers, offering them entertainment. Rain poses a significant challenge during book distribution, affecting workers' ability to carry out their tasks efficiently.
  • 32. The researcher connected the outcomes of the Book Distribution Project for Women and Elderly with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by highlighting the alignment between the project's objectives and the broader aims of the SDGs. Specifically, the project's focus on empowering women, promoting literacy, and fostering community connections directly relates to several SDGs.
  • 33. Health Education Mental Health Cognitive Health Social Well-being Access to Healthcare Information Physical Well-being SDG 3 Good Health and Well-being The provision of essential books, including those related to studies and competitive exams, contributes indirectly to good health and well-being. Access to educational resources can empower individuals and improve overall health outcomes, supporting SDG 3.
  • 34. Literacy Promotion Access to Education: Skills Development Lifelong Learning Inclusive Education Community Engagement: Collect unwanted books from your community and donate them to libraries or charities. SDG 4 Quality Education The distribution of books and the role of librarians in promoting reading suggest a focus on enhancing educational opportunities. Access to books and reading materials supports quality education, which is the essence of SDG 4.
  • 35. Equal Participation and Representation Promotion of Women's Rights: Combatting Stereotypes and Discrimination Inclusive and Accessible Services: Empowerment Through Education Fostering Supportive Communities: SDG 5 Gender Equality The predominance of women in the book distribution program and the emphasis on providing membership only to women indicate efforts towards gender equality. By empowering women through literacy and access to books, this program contributes to SDG 5.
  • 36. Employment Opportunities Empowerment Through Work Promotion of Entrepreneurship Skills Development: Community Economic Development: Promotion of Inclusive Growth: SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth The work of librarians in distributing books, often through walking to households, reflects efforts towards decent work and economic growth. By providing services and employment opportunities, especially for women, this initiative contributes to SDG 8.
  • 37. Equal Access to Resources: Addressing Gender-Based Disparities: Supporting Vulnerable Groups: Community Inclusion: Reducing Disparities in Education: SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities By ensuring that everyone in a household has access to membership in the book distribution program, regardless of gender, the initiative works towards reducing inequalities within communities, aligning with SDG 10.
  • 38. Collaborative Efforts: Resource Mobilization: Stakeholder Engagement: Sustainable Development: Cross-Sector Collaboration: Knowledge Sharing: SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals The organization of joint events and collaboration among women librarians highlight the importance of partnerships in achieving common objectives. This aspect aligns with SDG 17, which emphasizes the need for collaborative efforts to address global challenges.
  • 39. Conclusion With over 600 women librarians in Kerala, the project holds significant importance in the realm of women's empowerment. Kerala, where women's participation in the workforce is traditionally low, stands to benefit greatly from initiatives that elevate women's roles and amplify their contributions. By shedding light on the experiences of women librarians, this study not only highlights the challenges they face but also underscores the importance of empowering women to participate actively in various fields of work. Through such projects, Kerala can pave the way for greater gender equality and inclusive development, ensuring that women have equal opportunities to thrive and contribute to society.
  • 40. Photo Story of a Walking Librarian
  • 41. THANK YOU write to us: drsyamili@uoc.ac.in husnakanooth@gmail.com