During more than 10 years of its activity in the fields of promoting books and reading and improving and expanding literacy, Read with Me project has been successful in establishing hundreds of local child-centered libraries in classes and schools of different cities and villages in Iran. Read with Me libraries provide opportunities for children to experience child-centered environments full of literacy, where every element and program encourage them to read, talk and perform book-related activities. In Read with Me libraries children enjoy comfort and happiness and can develop their creativity and imagination. Read with Me libraries are centers for expanding book-reading programs in nearby schools; as such, they are centers for the promotion of books and reading in different regions.
After years of work and experience, Read with Me library committee decided to produce and publish a written document in which models and criteria for the establishment and the management of Read with Me libraries are explained. The purpose of this document is to inform people about the scope and methods of providing library services suitable for children’s needs and rights in the fields of reading and literacy. The intended audience of the document are librarians, promoters, managers of kindergartens and schools, institutes which intend to establish children’s and adolescents’ libraries, library students and all those who are interested in the promotion of reading and literacy among children.
The children’s and adolescents’ group of International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) published the handbook for library services for children in 2003 which was updated in 2018. The writers of this document have had in mind the general principles of library services for IFLA children. Managers and librarians of children’s libraries need to read this important document; therefore, it was translated and published by Read with Me library committee in The Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature (IFLA guide for services in children’s libraries).
We hope that publishing this document could be a stepping stone for more effective steps in enhancing the living quality of children in different regions of Iran, at the present time and in the future.
In the beginning of this document, the aims of Read with Me libraries are outlined. These aims focus more than anything else on promoting reading, developing literacy and raising awareness about the importance of books and of reading. In the next part of the document, after identifying the audiences of Read with Me libraries, the characteristics of these libraries are mentioned, which are in harmony with the aims and the framework of Read with Me project.
Setting is of utmost importance in children’s and adolescents’ libraries; therefore, in a separate section of the document, the setting of Read with Me libraries is discussed. The environment of a Read with Me library is child-centered and filled with literacy. Standards for colors, lighting, designing and building the settings of these libraries are fully covered, while the issues of their safety and security are always at the center of attention.
We get help from knowledgeable, educated, motivated and interested individuals in each step of the way in both the establishment and the activities of Read with Me libraries. The individuals and the groups involved in designing and implementing the setting, producing book lists, teaching, monitoring and supervising over the library activities, providing technical library services, reading aloud and related activities and promoting reading in regions are categorized in this document under the heading “human resources”.
In a section of the document entitled “ethical values”, the dominant ethical principles and beliefs in Read with Me libraries are outlined. These ethical valued are based on children’s rights and principles of Read with Me project.
Other issues discussed in this document include finding financial resources, attracting local participation in establishing and managing the libraries, setting up networks of libraries for promoting reading, establishing relations between local people, developing library activities in quality and in quantity, and increasing the number of members.
Evaluation is of particular importance in Read with Me project; similarly, the evaluation of the libraries is a crucial process in enhancing the functions and expanding the activities of Read with Me libraries. This issue is discussed in the last section of the document.
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