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Second School Librarian Finalist Profile: Dr Chhavi Jain

SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2018: Honour Librarian Profile

Dr. Chhavi Jain
Manav Rachna International School (Gurugram), New Delhi


Dr. Chhavi Jain is only the second librarian ever from outside the British Isles to have made it onto the Honour List for School Librarian of the Year. For the past 18 months Dr. Jain has worked tirelessly at Manav Rachna International School (Gurugram) outside New Dehli in India, supporting 1,100 children from 6–17 years and over 200 staff. She is responsible not only for a large multilingual library (including both digital and physical stock in English, Hindi, French and Spanish) which features a separate audio-visual suite and a large number of computers, but also for an adjoining makerspace.

Dr. Jain originally studied Librarianship and Information Science at Annamalai University, Chennai, and last year completed a PhD in digital librarianship. She regularly presents and publishes research papers both in India and internationally, tirelessly promoting the value of school libraries in a country where they are generally under-valued. Dr. Jain recently received the Jean Lowrie Leadership Development Award from the International Association of School Librarianship.

Dr. Jain has been instrumental in integrating the library into the curriculum, initiating regular meetings with teachers to support their planning. She delivers library lessons not only around reading for pleasure but also on information literacy skills. Each class in the school has one library period per week and the resources Dr. Jain has created for these lessons will be shared with all seven libraries in the schools which form a consortium with Dr Jain's school, demonstrating her commitment to sharing good practice and creative ideas. 

Dr Jain has been Senior Librarian at Manav Rachna for only a year and a half but she has already introduced a huge range of reading promotion activities, including a "Go Green with Book Swap Scheme" which saw 60% of school community taking part, an international Book Mark exchange, forging links with schools worldwide including in the US and Portugal and has taken her students on multiple visits to external book festivals and libraries including the Parliament library and the British Council library in New Dehli. Members of the library bookclub recently visited a local village school and as well as running storytelling session in English and Hindi for the village children, Dr Jain and her students donated Story Cards and helped establish a village school library, with the donation of 300 books.


Dr. Jain is determined to include everyone in her library, not only through encouraging readers with an extensive array of awards, but also by specially addressing the needs of students with additional needs through a programme called "One Nation Reading Together". Authors, illustrators and storytellers regularly visit the school both in person and via Skype and activities as wide ranging as bringing in a chef to make sushi in the library and supporting the school's participation in the Model United Nation's programme further add to the variety of activities taking place in and with the support of the school library.

The makerspace which Dr. Jain is also responsible for has proved a valuable route into discovering the joy of reading for many students who have not traditionally considered themselves readers; Dr. Jain works with such students (who are keen to build and create but are perhaps less enthusiastic about reading), showing how library books on related topics such as technology can feed their interest and skills.

A passionate school library advocate, Dr. Jain is a proactive, innovative librarian who has created a school library which is seen by her Deputy Head as a "happening place". As well as clearly making a vital difference to the life of her own school, Dr. Jain wants  her work to "connect all the librarians in the city to empower them and to make them think big and do better". 

You can find out more about Dr Jain's work by visiting her library's webpages:

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