A few weeks back I got in touch with the trustees of Panaji first – an initiative by CII and some eminent citizens of Panaji in Goa. They were curating quality books for the Goa State Library and I played a small part by recommending some. What I liked about this initiative, besides the fact that it is led by citizens is that the focus is not on donating books, focus is not on any books – but on ensuring that good books are chosen so that they are read. Now I know to an extent what is a good book is subjective, but they have applied a few objective parameters to ensure quality including rating systems of portals like Goodreads.
Sharing this – as I think this can be replicated across cities by its citizens and organizations.
Here is their formal Note on the initiative:
About Knowledge Conect Project
The Knowledge Connect Project is an initiative of Panaji First, a Trust formed by CI Goa State Council with an aim of launching the city of Panaji and its denizens into 21st century. The current century needs a new kind of a learner; not a learner who churns out answers by rote but someone who can think expansively and solve problems resourcefully. The traditionally academic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic must be augmented by curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, cooperation and communication skills. This project aims to use The Central Library, Panaji as a focal point for connecting with the stakeholders in Panaji. In a nutshell, the Knowledge Connect Project is not a book donation project. The book donation is only the starting phase.
Plan of Implementation for 2014-15
a) For the current year the project aims to enhance the collection of books at The Central Library. The selection in the current year would be books and videos in the areas of Popular Sciences followed by Social Sciences, Innovation and Children books. Our target is to ad between 5,00 and 10,00 books of international quality by March 2015.
b) The selection has ben benchmarked to the most read books in leading libraries around the World. The books have ben chosen from the bestseller in the New York Times, most read books in New York Public Library, Pulitzer prize winers and finalists for the last 10 years, the awardees and the long lists of books of Royal Society, London, Booker prize winers, awardees of Goldman Sachs/FT and books with average ratings exceeding 4 on godreads.com and a wide selection of books on Indian history and books written by Indian writers.
c) We have already printed and mailed attractive brochures on Popular Science selections to the Headmasters at Panaji schools and colleges. We now plan to have short presentations in these schools and colleges to popularise reading as a habit. We are also contemplating to make available e-books on kindles for reference section. This will complement the hard print copies. Once we reach a target of 5,00 books, we will initiate a project for Central Library to lend the books to Panaji schools and colleges on long term basis. Our object is to bring the library to the readers instead of the traditional efforts of getting the readers to the library.
d) The Knowledge Connect would initiate steps to get eminent writers to speak to Panaji citizens and students at The Central Library on periodic basis. A comprehensive calendar is being drawn up for a period of 12 months.
e) During the current year, the Panaji First also plans to initiate a science experiment competition. The students will compete to build a scientific concept through a model. This will be learning by
f) Panaji First also plans to organise field trips for the school and college children so that they get connected with business and non-business organisations early in life.
The initiative is therefore to create a repository of knowledge and create a connect using al five senses. Currently the project is driven by business organisations and individuals excited at he idea of creating a knowledgeable Panaji. Those interested are requested to connect [email protected] either with recommendations of books or with their willingness to contribute.