Press Esc to close

Rebuilding libraries

Mar 14, 2014 : 22:26 IST
The Union culture ministry’s programme to rejuvenate the library network in the country is a welcome step to reintroduce the role of books and reading in people’s lives.

Its project, the national mission on libraries, was launched by President Pranab Mukherjee, who described a public library as a people’s university which should be accessible to all. The mission was conceived long ago but is only now being pursed and implemented. With a budget of about Rs 450 crore it seeks to improve the library system by setting up model libraries, creating a national virtual library, undertaking surveys and monitoring of the working of libraries and creating more capacities to cater to the needs of more people. These are laudable aims at a time when libraries are becoming dysfunctional due to various reasons.

There are 64,000 public libraries in India and almost all of them are in a state of disuse and disrepair. There have been attempts in the past to revive them and committees were set up to report on ways for revival. A central autonomous foundation was also established to create a national system and give assistance to libraries all over the country. The aims included modernisation, introduction of information technology to improve services and to create a national grid of libraries. Most of these efforts did not help much and the present initiative calls for better commitment and strategies to achieve results. Many public libraries are run like government offices with all the problems of bureaucratic indifference and even corruption affecting their functioning. The present plan is to improve the working of 5,000 libraries under the leadership of the foundation.

There is a view that the reading habit has declined and the availability of books on the internet has reduced the relevance of libraries. This is wrong. The habit is still strong and only the vehicles and tools of reading have changed. Books and libraries are relevant for vast numbers of people who do not have access to modern methods of dissemination of knowledge. The mission should target those who are deprived of opportunities and reading facilities, especially in small towns and villages. It should also develop services which will benefit physically and otherwise disadvantaged sections and the elderly. New ways to attract children to libraries should also be tried. Libraries have played an important role in changing society and its attitudes.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Smokes and flame comes out from the window after a high rise office building caught fire...

Smokes and flame comes out from the window after a high rise office building caught fire...

Officials of the Pakistani Anti-Narcotic Force destroy confiscated drugs and liquor in Lahore...

Officials of the Pakistani Anti-Narcotic Force destroy confiscated drugs and liquor in Lahore...

A view of illuminated Swaminarayan temple on occasion of Diwali in Surat...

A view of illuminated Swaminarayan temple on occasion of Diwali in Surat...

Students pose after lighting oil lamps around a 'Rangoli' outside their hostel...

Students pose after lighting oil lamps around a 'Rangoli' outside their hostel...

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti celebrates Diwali with orphans in Jammu...

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti celebrates Diwali with orphans in Jammu...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrating the Diwali with the jawans of the Indian Army...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrating the Diwali with the jawans of the Indian Army...

President Ram Nath Kovind greeting people on the occasion of Diwali festival at Rashtrapati Bhavan..

President Ram Nath Kovind greeting people on the occasion of Diwali festival at Rashtrapati Bhavan..

Devotees queued at Dakhheneswar Kali temple during Diwali festival in Kolkata...

Devotees queued at Dakhheneswar Kali temple during Diwali festival in Kolkata...

CPI(M) workers chant slogans at a protest rally outside BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday...

CPI(M) workers chant slogans at a protest rally outside BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday...

Woman teachers pose with Diwali greeting messages at a school in Moradabad on Tuesday...

Woman teachers pose with Diwali greeting messages at a school in Moradabad on Tuesday...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.