Reading habit evangelist

EducationWorld October 2019 | People

Dalbir Kaur Madan

Educator and reading habit evangelist Dalbir Kaur Madan is founder of the Delhi-based OneUp Library, Bookstudio and Learning Lab (estb.2011) which offers children access to a vast repository of books and curated educational content in addition to linguistic, social and cognitive experiences in child-centred reading and learning environments.

OneUp also offers library services to households and schools to curate their book collections and reading programmes. Currently it has 6,000 member-children in several cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Amritsar.

Newspeg. In its latest initiative, OneUp is set to stage its inaugural Bandana Sen Library Awards (BSLA) in November to commemorate the pioneering contribution of the late educator Bandana Sen (1943-2018) in the promotion of children’s libraries and reading programmes. BSLA will certify and felicitate selected librarians and heads of CBSE/CISCE schools who have implemented “best practices in nurturing learning environments”. Its five-member jury includes eminent educationists Abha Adams, Peggy Sood and Donavon Reinsmoen among others. Winners will be awarded prize money (Rs.25,000-100,000)and trophies and certificates.

History. A political science and education management alumna of Delhi and Pune’s Symbiosis universities, in 2010, while residing in Amritsar, Madan found it a challenge to raise her children deprived of access to a reading library or quality bookstores. “OneUp was born out of the idea to take the joy of reading to as many children as possible,” says Madan, who invested her family savings to promote Amritsar’s first state-of-the-art OneUp Library, Bookstudio and Learning Lab in 2011. Encouraged by public response to this initiative, she opened her second centre in the national capital in 2017.

Business model. The OneUp book studio offers readers books from its curated collection of 21,000 titles, while the library division lends books to annual subscribers (price undisclosed). Simultaneously, the Learning Labs division provides library establishment, upgradation and curation services to schools and individuals. It also organises teacher training, book exhibitions and workshops for schools. Client schools include Lotus Valley International School, Gurgaon; Springdale Senior School, Amritsar and Don Bosco International School, Mumbai, among others.

Direct talk. “Our goal is to transform libraries from being traditional, quiet repositories of knowledge to child-centred spaces where exploratory and joyful experiences are created around information and books,” says Madan.

Future plans. Encouraged by the positive response from private schools and parents in several cities, Madan is planning to expand OneUp’s reach to an ever increasing number of schools in Delhi NCR, Bangalore and Amritsar. “We are not chasing numbers. Our prime aim is to motivate, inspire and nurture reading in the digital age where knowledge will be the new currency,” says Madan.

Wind beneath your wings!

Shraddha Goled (Bangalore)

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