Highlights: Reading Culture in Occupied Palestine

Monday 10 February 2014

PBBY Workshops:

In October 2012 PBBY held two workshops in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to discuss the Palestinian experience in encouraging a reading culture among children. The participants consisted of librarians from public and school libraries, educators, and children’s literature specialists, in addition to representatives from governmental and civil institutes working in this field.

The workshops included a display of experiences of librarians and facilitators working with children in the Occupied Territory and inside the Green-line of 1948. They emphasized the activities that brought children and books together to strengthen their relationship in order to develop a community of Palestinian readers.

The display also included distinguished personal experiences in working with children in crisis situations and with special needs. Participants pointed out the effect of reading on the children during the working period with them and the positive effects on their behavior and academic performance.

Librarians discussed obstacles, such as: reading aversion among some children caused by associating reading with school rote learning, fear of the children’s parents that children waste time by studying, and the unawareness of a large section of the community members of the importance of reading culture.

Furthermore, some of the Administrative Committees in the Public libraries don’t recognize the importance of librarians and libraries. Moreover, lack of finance and rigid bureaucracy leave some projects unaccomplished.
Participants in Gaza Strip talked about the importance of Bibliotherapy in the treatment of traumatized children caused by Israeli siege and wars such as fear, worry, uncontrollable urinating, and loss of a friend or family member.

There was richness and diversity of experiences exchanged. The visionary impaired from al- Nour School for the Blind and the mobile library serve children in marginalized and remote areas, and personal experiences in Israeli prisons and during the Israeli invasion were also valuable to expose.

The two workshops ended with constructive recommendations.

Pictures from a workshop organized in Gaza to discuss the Palestinian experiences in promoting reading culture.

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