Today is National Reading Day…

Reading Day

19th June is celebrated as National Reading Day in India to honour the Keralite teacher, P.N. Panicker. This celebration of reading did not begin until 1996. However, it has grown into a large-scale movement over the years, with many participants rejoicing, learning, imbibing, and celebrating the habit of reading. 

Puthuvayil Narayana Panicker is known as the father of the library movement in Kerala. He died on 19th June 1995, after which in 1996, National Reading Day was celebrated as a tribute to the legend. The Ministry of Education of Kerala also observes Vayana Varam (reading week) for the week between the 19th to 25th of June.

National Reading Day – P.N. Panicker’s Contributions

In 1926, Panicker, who worked as a teacher in his hometown, founded the Sanadana Dalman Library. In 1945, 20 years later, he led the Travancore Library Association through Thiruvithaamkoor Granthasala Sangham, which comprised 47 local libraries. The main purpose of establishing these libraries was to emphasize the importance of local education and reading. The club’s slogan is “Read and Grow,” which embodies the importance of books in human life.

When the state of Kerala was founded in 1956, the association became Kerala Granthsala Sangham (SGS). Panicker managed to bring nearly 6,000 libraries to his network. The SGS received the prestigious UNESCO Krupsakaya Award in 1975. Panicker was its general secretary for 32 years before it was taken over by the state government in 1977. It then became the Kerala State Library Council, which incorporated democratic structures and funding.

After the acquisition of SGS by the state, Panicker decided to establish the Kerala Association for Non-Formal Education and Development (KANFED) in Kerala. KANFED led to the launch of a mission to improve literacy in Kerala and promoted the importance of education in rural areas.

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