Y.S. RANA , CHANDIGARH—FEB 15-In a bid to take books beyond the four walls of libraries, the Central Government has taken an ambitious move to foster reading habits which are on decline and provide better research facilities to students at the click of their mouse. Recently, the Ministry of Culture, GOI has drafted a vision to convert public libraries into western-style digital libraries.
Stating this to the India Post, Mr Suraj P Nagpal, State Librarian, who has recently attended a meeting of the National Mission on Library held at Rashtrapati Bhavan and inaugurated by the President of India said that the TS Central State Library in Chandigarh would be equipped with network connectivity which would facilitate the conversion physical materials of rare nature; historical background and heritage importance into digital copies.
He further stated that the National Mission on Libraries has been assigned the work and allocated Rs 400 crore for this purpose. The mission envisaged the new-age library systems and was all set to digitize around 35 central state libraries of 28 states and union territories along with six libraries directly under the ministry. Furthermore, a total of 629 district libraries across the country would also be converted into digital libraries, he said.
“New-age library system will be in place within three years and provide speedy access to books on their computer screens 24 hours,” he stated. While talking to some students of Panjab University who come to the library said the move will definitely beneficial to the reading lover and will bridge gap between time and space. “Most of the time I have no time to come to library as I am preparing myself for the civil examination. The move will bring the libraries on our computer screens,” said one of them.
The move will benefit all categories of readers—students researchers. Scientists, teachers professionals, children, artists and disabled who find it difficult to visit the library. “Senior citizens and disabled who are found of reading but cannot make it to the libraries and other who have no time to go through every page of the book, the move will be a step forward,” said Sikandar Singh who is fond of reading.
At present, the library has around 4400 members and store of more than two lakhs books and subscribing to 150 magazines and 40 newspapers.
The mission will create a baseline data of libraries through a quantitative and qualitative survey of 5,000 libraries to collect detailed information. The project will take approximately five years to complete and become functional. Hope may turn into reality for those who fond of reading! .