In our fast world there has emerged a power that compells us to stop and look around, reconsider our values and notice things that before weren’t so important. It has taught us many more things. Each day for us librarians, is like an unread book page full of unexperienced emotions, new challenges and adventures, interesting activities – a quick look around is enough to rejoice in the discoveries.
Our youngest readers were never lacking interest, as the biggest part of education programs and events was dedicated to them in particular. Consequently, the books published are exceptionally colorful, supplemented not only with a variety of pictures but also with all kinds of real effects and, of course, very interesting.
We have noticed that the grown-ups were compelled to remember the road to the library due to quarantine restrictions. However, things were more complicated with the young readers. And so we, the librarians, have decided to show them that book reading is not only useful, positive and meaningful time spending but it can also become a beautiful bridge connecting like-minded peers from distant continents!
Simply reading books may become a universal language allowing not only to communicate but also to co-operate while sharing the experience of this activity and looking for examples of success in promoting reading in other countries. This pleasant occupation opens up all doors and helps to overcome the obstacles allowing one to communicate in different languages and experience the world through books.
At the beginning of spring, Smėlynė library (one of the branches of Panevezys Elena Mezginaite public library) organized the contest “Rich Language – Wealthy Me” which attracted a huge interest amongst the youngest readers. A competitive fight broke out seeking to present a favorite work of literature most eloquently.
We were pleasantly surprised by the decision of the pupils of 1st grade and their teacher Asta Sakalienė from Panevėžys ‘Viltis‘ progymnasium to participate in the contest as a friendly collective instead of partaking individually. The book presentations were astonishing and delightful. After the contest, we were very reluctant to let go of this amiable collective, and wanting to prolong this friendship we offered them to take part in the project ‘Reading – a Bridge between the Continents‘ and they gladly agreed.
Thus, we took up a slightly unusual role for the library as we introduced (virtually) the first graders of Panevėžys ‘Viltis‘ progymnasium to their peer students from Melbourne‘s (Australia) Kingsley Park Primary School and gave them an assignment – to present their countries with handmade bookmarks.
What else if not a bookmark will know his master‘s reading tastes and even the page at which the little reader… falls asleep. Being separated by thousands of miles, many time zones, and different seasons of the year as well as different learning traditions, children were united by reading.
Besides this activity pupils were also creating short films around the subjects of their home libraries, books being read, school, free time activities, pets, and many other topics. With an innocent sincerity, they were sharing their childhood memories with their peers.
It is truly marvelous to be at the center of such events, believe it! 5th- grade pupils of teacher Asta recorded a short film in English language presenting the activities of 1st-grade pupils as well as introduced our home city and the school. Symbolically, all these gifts from 1st graders – bookmarks and video recordings arrived at Smėlynė library during the National Week of Lithuanian Libraries.
In addition, we are sending you the album ‘Unseen Lithuania‘ by M. Jovaiša and sweet candies ‘Thank you‘ – off to the faraway land of Australia. We hope that these gifts will cheer up 1st-grade pupils awaiting them and will alleviate the start of the new school year in Australia. And while we are waiting for the bookmarks from the other side of the globe, we promise not to waste our time and read! We invite you to join us – it is so much fun.
Senior librarian Monika Kazlauskė