Knowledge in the City, everywhere

Knowledge in the City, everywhere

Untill the advent of internet, perhaps there was only one place (still it is!) where any person seeking information could quench his thirst for information — library! However, library(ies) continue to attract people from all fields.

Be it an eight-year-old child or an 80-year-old scientist, be it a home maker or an executive or a student, library is one common place where people from all walks of life visit to gain information.

Perhaps, there is no school or institution without a library, however small it is, and Mangalore is no exception, which is also a hub of education with various unique courses across the length and breadth of the coastal districts.

Besides the state of the art libraries in various institutions in the coastal districts, there are several public libraries in the nook and corner of Dakshina Kannada district.

Speaking to City Herald, DK District Central Library Chief Librarian T J Venkatesh said that there are 204 Gram Panchayat libraries. In addition, there are 7 branch libraries (in Sullia, Puttur, Belthangady, Ullal, Moodbidre, B C Road and Mulki), 4 libraries for slum dwellers (in Kodialguttu, Pandeshwar, Kudkori Gudde and Jyothi Nagar, all in Mangalore taluk), 2 libraries for vagabonds (in Mudipu and in Konaje) and one service centre library at Asaigoli (at Karnataka State Reserve Police centre).

Interestingly, the number of libraries went up in the year 2005 when the then Minister Basavaraj Horatti decided to open libraries in gram panchayats. “Accordingly, 132 gram panchayat libraries were opened in single year in 2005 in Dakshina Kannada district alone,” he said and added that though there are libraries in every gram panchayats, there is no seperate building for the same and the GP libraries function in the GP building itself.

There is a move to construct seperate building for library in every gram panchayats at a cost of Rs 8 lakh each and if it is done, then every GP library will get independent building, he informed.

Stating that most of the readers would like to read only select books such as those written by Saisuthe, M K Indira, Usha Navarathna, Shivram Karanth, Kuvempu, Poornachandra Tejaswi, S L Byrappa and Ravi Belagere, Venkatesh said at present the persons who look after the library in gram panchayats are paid only a honararium of Rs 2,500 per month.

Libraries in City

Besides the above mentioned libraries (outside the Mangalore City, but within DK district), there are 18 branch libraries in Mangalore City, one community children’s library (in Valencia), one library training school, also in Valencia where SSLC passed students can take up 4-month certificate course in library science. In addition, there is a mobile van which visits 24 points in a week.

Incidentally, the mobile van, which was rendering its service for the last 27 years, stopped its service this week (National Library Week!) as the vehicle is very old and the permit can not be renewed as per the RTO rules, said City Central Library Deputy Director K V Raghavendra. However, a new mobile van is expected soon, he informed.

The City Central Library, which was established in 1961 too is being renovated and soon will wear a new look. With 38,741 members as on date, the library will soon have a seperate reference section, browsing section besides computerisation of the library.

Novel contests

As a part of the National Library Week, both district library as well as city central libraries have planned novel competitions to create awareness among the members of the public as well as the existing readers.

District Librarian T J Venkatesh said that the aim of this Library Week is “to make people visit library,” he said and hoped that once the people start coming to library, they will glance through the available material.

On the other hand, City Central Library Deputy Director K V Raghavendra said that he has planned many novel programmes in the Library Week (Nov 14 to 20) that includes:

* Jnanada Vikasadatta Ondu Hejje (A step towards gaining knowledge) — Inviting all readers in all branches on November 15 between 6 pm and 7 pm and asking them to read what they want.

* Oodu - Paripoorna, Arthapoorna haagu Sundara Badukigagi (Read for a complete and better life) - a programme where experts will speak and create awareness on reading habbit.

* Oodu - Pustaka Gellu (Read and win books as prize) - Readers will be asked to read a book and write opinion on the book. The best opinion will be rewarded.

This apart, there are contests for library staff such as to get back maximum number of unreturned books (taken by members) and also a ‘Best (dedicated) Reader’ award in each library. In addition, the department has organised drawing, elocution, essay, story telling, fancy dress and quiz contests. The department has been taking steps to attract readers. It is upto the readers to take it or leave it. But the fact remains the same: “Knowledge is Power.”

Corp Bank library

Apart from the government public libraries, the Corporation Bank Centenary Public Library near Mangala Stadium is quite popular in Mangalore. Dedicated to the citizens of Mangalore, “Corporation Bank Centenary Public Library” was inaugurated by the then Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on March 12, 2006. The library has 3 floors with an area of 3700 sq ft to 4000 sq ft on each floor. While the basement is having the internet and video conferencing facility, the ground floor houses the newspapers and periodicals / reference section. A numismatic center is also functional on this floor.

A multipurpose hall on the first floor of the library meant for releasing new books, lecture sessions involving distinguished authors etc., will be selectively used at the discretion of the Bank, informed Chief Librarian Tony George. The library has more than 12,000 books and over 620 CDs under 52 categories (subjects).

Documentary on CDs for kids

In the extremely competitive world, it is very difficult to compete with private players. However, as a step towards innovation, the Government of Karnataka, has provided a TV set and several CDs on geography, general knowledge, maths, history, life science and many other topics to one library each. Accordingly, the Moodbidre branch of the library has received the same.

Giving details on the same, Moodbidre library Head Pranitha Priya Monteiro said that she would start organising documentary shows for children from November 14, children’s day. The library with more than 30,000 books has been catering to the needs of localites in and around Moodbidre since 1970s.

Father of Library Science S R Ranganathan

Although the history and tradition of literacy and books among certain classes in India is long-standing, the modern library movement has roots in the later 18th century with real growth appearing a century or more later.

Earlier, the libraries were attached to seats or centres of learning like Nalanda, Vikramshila, Somapuri,Jaggadal, Mitthla or Takshsila.

However, it is said that the libraries developed and prospered in the Moghul period, thanks to the Moghul Kings who were highly educatedand and fond of books.

The year 1808 is a landmark in the history of library movement in India when the then Bombay government initiated a proposal to register libraries, which would receive free copies of books published from the Funds for the Encouragement of Literature.

Dr Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan, popularly known as S R Ranganathan is known as Father of Library Science. Born on August 9, 1892 at Shiyali, a small town in Tamil Nadu, he did his MA in Mathematics and taught at Madras University. In 1924, he was appointed as the librarian of Madras University, a post he held for twenty years.

As a newly appointed librarian, he travelled to London’s School of Librarianship and toured over 100 libraries in the UK.

While in England, Ranganathan saw that the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) was the most popular system in use. His analytical mind quickly discovered its fundamental deficiency and its inability to express all the aspects of a specific subject of a document.

He also thought that a classification system should allow for future subjects to be combined in unexpected or unplanned ways. The five laws developed by Ranganathan are relevent even to this day.

Interestingly, the concept is attractive for its simplicity, predictability, and depth in comparison to classification on a linguistic level, such as is used by search engines such as Google.