As staff shortage is haunting the department of Public Libraries in the city, the officials have plans to hand over service centre libraries to private agencies for maintenance.
Initially, as a pilot project, the department has decided to hand over two libraries to a private agency through a tender. In this regard, the department has sent a proposal to the government for approval, after seeking a nod from the City Library Authority, headed by the Mayor.
The department runs 18 branch libraries, 13 service centre libraries, one e-library, one mobile library, seven study centres, and two aided libraries in the city. More than 30 libraries have staff shortage. There is a requirement of 36 employees, including Group 'C' and 'D', for the libraries in the city. As there are no permanent staff in service centre libraries, it is being run by paying an honorarium to temporary staff.
Speaking to DH, City Central Library Deputy Director B Manjunath said, "The civic agencies construct library buildings due to the pressure of corporators. Later, the buildings are handed over to the department. The department has however, managed to provide basic infrastructure, including books. But we could not provide staff."
He said that there are only 13 technical staff for 18 branch libraries and they are managing more than 30 libraries with additional charges. As the government has not sanctioned posts, they even cannot hire staff on a temporary basis.
Hence, to overcome the problem of staff crunch, we have planned to hand over the libraries to private agencies only for maintenance. We have sent a proposal to the government. In the initial phase, two service centre libraries will be handed over to a private agency as a pilot project. If this becomes successful, at a later stage, we will hand over other libraries to private agencies."