On a mission to bring back students to libraries

By K. Srinivasa Rao
Local representatives offering books to teacher Dabbiru Govinda Rao, at Bantupalli village in Ranasthalam mandal of Srikakulam district. (Source: The Hindu)

A teacher’s initiative is helping thousands of students to have libraries in their villages in Srikakulam district.

Dabbiru Govinda Rao (53), working as a mathematics assistant at Zilla Parishad High School of Kintali village in Ponduru mandal of Srikakulam district strongly feels that academic studies alone would not ensure overall development of students. According to him, all children need to study epics, biographies of great leaders, and moral stories in order to develop all-round knowledge and a strong command over multiple languages. As many as 58 libraries were established in various places in the last five years through Mr. Govinda Rao’s efforts.

In association with many elders and public representatives, Mr. Govinda Rao ensured establishment of libraries in small villages like Basivaada and Ramadasupeta in Jalumuru mandal, Rapaka, Jogannapeta and Laidam villages in Ponduru mandal, and Muddada in Etcherla mandal. After observing his passion to inculcate a reading habit among the youngsters, Andhra Pradesh Grandhalaya Sangham made him a State Executive Member of the association.

“The library movement played a key role in achieving independence from the British. The then Tamil Nadu government took up an initiative to establishing libraries in Andhra region which was then under Madras Presidency. Subsequently, AP Library Act-1960 was passed in order to establish many libraries across the State. Now, it is again time to revive the library movement to inculcate a reading habit among the children. The establishment of libraries will also help them prepare for competitive exams with access to all books and newspapers,” said Mr. Govinda Rao while speaking to The Hindu.

His ideas inspired many youth clubs to set up libraries in the district. Sri Mahalakshmi Youth Club established a library on the premises of Bantupalli in Ranasthalam mandal. An elderly person named Ramamurthy allowed a portion of his house to be converted into a library in Muddada village. The locals contributed furniture worth ₹1.5 lakh and books apart from appointing a librarian on a honorarium basis. Srikakulam Citizens Forum president Baratam Kameswara Rao said that libraries would serve as an ideal location for conducting awareness programmes and would help in promoting healthy discussions on a range of public issues.

Mr. Govinda Rao received many awards including the Best Teacher Award from the State government for his mission to establish libraries. He also takes up awareness programmes on the benefits of study in government schools. During the beginning of the academic year, he visits many villages and distributes pamphlets explaining the infrastructure and facilities in government schools which were recently renovated under the Nadu-Nedu programme.


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