INTRODUCING

The Mobile Library Program

“Books are the plane and the train and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” – Anna Quindlen.

When the ongoing pandemic forced us all to stay cooped up in our homes, our students truly felt the absence of school life. Classes were going on virtually, and home fitness regimes replaced the PE periods. But the library was one part of the school experience that the students couldn’t recreate at home.

That’s why our principal Mrs. Pallavi Naik came together with a group of young techies from Std IX and Std X with a novel idea: a library that moved!

Then, under the able guidance of Mrs. Manisha Girolkar and Mrs. Gauri Joshi, the student team started off.

How it all works?

First, we setup this user-friendly and intuitive online portal, as a digital interface for the physical counterpart of the library. Using web technologies such as HTML, PHP, CSS, and MySql, the students built the framework and functionality of the library. Students can view books, issue a book, and return a book. Librarians can view a list of issued books, check the list of returned books, and mark a book as returned so that the book becomes available for issuing by other students.

Once this digital portal was in place, we setup the physical book delivery system; the mobile part of the mobile library program.

The librarian, upon reviewing the issued books from the online portal, stacks the books that need to go out to the students. The books are UV sanitized and kept ready for the pickup team. The team of van drivers then collects the books – segregated on drop location – and delivers the books to the specific location in pre-decided time slots. Students then pickup the books from the van at the drop locations. These locations are decided such that they are conveniently closer to a majority of the students’ houses. Once all the books have been delivered, the van returns to the school to ferry the next batch of books for the next location, naturally in the next time slot.

Each student can keep the book for a week, and can renew it for a period of additional 7 days, only once. Thus, the books are kept in circulation and don’t get tied up with one student for too long.

The Masterminds and Enablers of the Program

Samruddha Barhanpurkar and Vihang Vidwans were the developers from Std X. Aryan Kulkarni from Std IX joined the dev team. Arya Deshpande and Jui Mulay were the analysts of the project and were in charge of deciding the scope and way ahead for the project once it took flight. Anvay Sinkar, Archit Patil, and Avaneesh Bapat were the designers of the project. It was their creative vision that made the MLP look as attractive as it does now. Tools like Canva and video editors were used to create alluring graphics and video tutorials for the MLP.

Mrs. Manisha Girolkar and Mrs. Gauri Joshi mentored the students throughout the project. Mrs. Kalyani Kolhatkar and Mrs. Jyoti Rao poured in invaluable efforts in their capacity as library administrators. Mrs. Anjali Kulkarni (School Coordinator), Mrs. Mithila Joshi (Supervisor), Mrs. Manisha Girolkar, Mr. Avinash Patil, Mr. Suhas Bhat, Mr. Mahesh Patil, and Mrs. Kalyani Kolhatkar were all members of the execution team. Mrs. Anjali Kulkarni and Mrs. Mithila Joshi have been crucial in the physical system setup and logistic support.

Towards the concluding phases of the project, Mrs. Gauri Joshi set up communication with LearnEd Studio (website support) to get a helping hand from experts.  We discussed with the LearnEd Studio team about merging the sectionalized MLP portal into the official school website. Their guidance paved the path for integrating the MLP with the website in real-time.

MLP through the phases

Mrs. Manisha Girolkar kept following up on every stage of development of the project and guided the students through the process. Once the initial algorithm was developed, the students started working on the implementation. The coding team was quite self-reliant. The design team was working on designing posters and banners, and creating a walkthrough video of the system.

Mrs. Manisha Girolkar and Mrs. Gauri Joshi shouldered the responsibility of monitoring the whole system, coordinating proper communication between the involved parties and setting up physical arrangements as well.

Mrs. Pallavi Naik and Supervisors also took regular reviews of the system from time to time and gave their feedback. Their organisational experience played a vital role in completing the project without any managerial hassles. Mrs. Kalyani Kolhatkar and Mrs. Jyothi Rao took over the task of spreading word about the library so the program would gain some momentum.

Mr. Avinash Patil and Mr. Suhas Bhat took a survey of the students’ residential areas and then decided upon the drop locations. They also contacted our van drivers and explained the system to them.

Initial responses to the MLP

We launched the mobile library for Std VII as a pilot program, on 7th August 2021. Our team conducted an online survey to get a clear idea about the expectations from the program by approaching parents and understanding their preferable timings and locations.

A total of 66 responses came in, from interested patrons of the mobile library. The data was methodically analysed and the roadmap ahead was determined.

Praise for the Mobile Library Program and the students

“I feel proud of my students. With this project they have shown that they are real problem solvers, innovators and future entrepreneurs.” – Mrs. Manisha Girolkar.

“This is a very good initiative. Kids had gotten bored, being home all the time. They wanted books to read and were missing their school library. The MLP should go on.” – Seema Lathi, a parent.

“Mobile library project is a wonderful initiative conceptualized by the school. The students took it to the next level by using their coding skills and integrated technology into it. It’s indeed a one-of-its-kind project that is worth a lot of appreciation and accolades.”

– Mrs. Anjali Kulkarni, School coordinator.

“It’s a very good initiative taken by the school during this difficult situation. I am very happy my kids are able to receive the books right at our doorstep.” – A parent.

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