New Delhi, 30 November 2009 Press release

Initiative for the establishment of child-friendly libraries

"Bringing Books and Children Together - the role of librarians and teachers"

New Delhi, 30 November 2009 - "JumpStart" is the name of a series of lectures focusing on the child-friendly design of libraries. Within the framework of this activity, on 26 and 27 November the Austrian Cultural Forum in New Delhi organised a seminar and workshops entitled Bringing Books and Children Together – the role of librarians and teachers, in cooperation with Buch.Zeit Wels and the German Book Office (GBO). An interested, mixed audience consisting of librarians and teachers at private and public schools in Delhi participated in the seminar and workshops in order to obtain new input and ideas for attractive library design and the creative use of books in schools.

The Austrian speakers from Buch.Zeit, Wolfgang Lanzinger, Stefanie Jörgl and Hermann and Barbara Pitzer, travelled to New Dehli, making an essential contribution to the great success of this event. Their involvement was largely funded by the Province of Upper Austria and Buch.Zeit. In his workshop Wolfang Lanzinger worked on the physical arrangement of a school library, using many innovative ideas. Barbara Pitzer fascinated both librarians and teachers with her new ideas for a training programme for children at preschool and elementary school levels by showing how children may be won over as enthusiastic readers, even if means are scarce. Hermann Pitzer’s and Stefanie Jörgl’s contribution introduced the participants to the various techniques used in establishing and managing a library and elaborated on many new approaches to young people and how to get them interested in reading.

The Delhi-based Goethe Institute had sent its representative John Dolan OBE from Birmingham (UK), who worked out a strategic plan focusing on how librarians and teachers can support the school management and subject teachers. Dhir Jhingran, regional head and spokesman of the Room to Read organisation, explained the programme of his NGO, which establishes libraries in rural areas and carries out campaigns to motivate people to read.

The seminar and workshop focused on the main purpose of the event, namely how to motivate children to read and how to maintain this motivation. The speakers concentrated on trying to help participants find the right approach to child-friendly design of their libraries, the use of books during classes, the acquisition of knowledge, etc.

The JumpStart initiative is supported not only by the Austrian Cultural Forum in New Delhi but also by other sponsors, such as Pro Helvetia, thus also offering a basis for intercultural exchange and learning.

Background to JumpStart:
JumpStart is a series of workshops and seminars designed to close the further education gap between publishers, authors, librarians, teachers, etc. This initiative is to provide an opportunity for experienced experts in the field of books for children and adolescents to exchange their knowledge and skills and serve as a platform for joint learning. The JumpStart event organised on 26 and 27 November 2009 in New Delhi was the fourth out of a total of five events. The last (fifth) series of lectures is entitled Marketing Children’s Books: New Strategies for an emerging Market and will take place in January 2010 in New Delhi.

Austrian Cultural Forum New Delhi
Gudrun Hardiman-Pollross
Tel. +91 11 2419 2700