In 1997, CIVA launched a village literacy programme with a grant from the National Lottery’s Community Fund with the following objectives:
- To promote and support village libraries as a place in the local community to make books available and encourage reading.
- To publish practical information and advice (in Telugu, which is the local language) for village readers that would help people and communities improve their lives and livelihoods.
The programme received a second grant from the Community Fund in 2001 for a second phase. The programme now has the following strands:
- Training and consultancy to village librarians. This includes a published training programme which focuses on the village librarian as a community leader and motivator of social change, rather than on the practicalities of cataloguing, displaying and lending books (where there sufficient materials already existed).
- Setting up new village libraries – in India via the Good Gifts Catalogue working with the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, and in Andhra Pradesh in partnership with CALLeD, a specialist NGO which we helped establish and the State Library system.
- Publishing books in Telugu for rural readers – on rights, health, nutrition, sanitation, water, livestock, farming, gardening and income generation. The books are developed in partnership with experts and expert agencies, and are fully field tested for content and language befgoree being published. BooksLine, the publisher, has emerged as a centre of excellence in village publishing.
- Village reading circles – where books are taken into the poorest communities to be read and discussed. A pilot has been successfully run, and we are looking to getting a grant from the Big Lottery Fund and through sponsorship by book-reading groups in the UK to develop this programme further.
For a complete list of village publications, go to: www.bookslineindia.org