KAILA - READING unlocks your future. That was the theme for the National Library Week 2012 celebrations in the Old Capital this week. Beginning September 8-15, students of four primary schools and a kindergarten in Levuka town grabbed the opportunity to play pretend in their favourite book character.
They also spent time visiting the library and participated in all sorts of competitions like writing essays, drawing, colouring, read-a-thon, art and craft, and team building exercises.
Speaking to Kaila! from Levuka, National Trust of Fiji senior ranger Lydia Bower said essay, drawing and colouring competitions were the normal activities during Library Week in the past. This time around, they included the team building exercises to realise the national theme.
"Many predict that the digital age will wipe bookshelves clean and permanently end the centuries-old era of libraries. Well, I think libraries are extremely important. They are irreplaceable for many reasons," she said.
"For starters, not everything is available on the internet. The internet isn't free, but libraries are and not everyone has access to the internet. What most children don't realise is that there are a lot of fun things for them to do at the library.
"I would encourage a child to visit the library by allowing them to bring a friend, show them the many fun things that he or she can do at the library and offering a tour of the library."
Mrs Bower says the National Trust of Fiji is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education's department of national heritage, culture and arts.
She said the National Trust of Fiji has been funding and sponsoring their library week celebrations over the past nine years.
"We also receive donations like prizes and snacks from business shops. A big vinaka vakalevu to PAFCO, Ambalal & Sons, V.M Narsey & Sons, Gulabdas & Sons and the Levuka Tourism Association for their kind donations this year," she said.
"No one should doubt the importance of libraries. The Library Week celebrations should be celebrated every year and has to be included in the school calendar every year. We hope the week-long celebration was meaningful to everyone.
"To allow this to happen, we had and still need the support from families and friends."
She said they even organised a family fun day for the whole community. Parents, guardians, children and neighbours joined in the festivities to mark the event.