Reading habit is what helps in acquisition of general knowledge for excelling in competitive examinations, HR and CE Minister M. Paranjothi said on Sunday.

Unlike in the past when wealth-creation was thought to be important by parents, a realisation has now set in among them that educational uplift for bright future of children was of higher importance, the Minister said, speaking at the valediction of the 44th national library week celebrations organised jointly by the Department of Public Libraries and the Local Library Authority. The free laptop scheme for students envisaged by the Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was meant to enhance their educational levels along side building computer literacy.

The Government has initiated efforts to fill 1,093 posts of rural librarians. The District Central Library has a collection of 1,26,000 books and there were exclusive sections with books for competitive examinations, he said.

The Minister honoured prize-winners of various competitions organised in connection with the week-long celebration in the presence of the District Collector Jayashree Muralidharan, Tiruchi East MLA R. Manoharan; Deputy Mayor Asick Meera; Mannachanallur MLA T.P. Poonatchi; and the District Library Officer A.P. Sivakumar.

The Minister also honoured State-best Librarian Awardees for 2011-M. Mohan and M. Selvakumar, Librarians of Branch Libraries at Mettupalayam and Kolakudi respectively.

Donors whose contributions were recognised constituted Thuraiyur Rotary Club for providing shelf rack worth Rs. 1 lakh, V.R. Ranganathan for contributing Rs. 16,500 for sound system at Thendral Nagar Branch Library, Ravindran of Raghavendra Promoters for donating water purifier system worth Rs. 9,000 for Bikshandarkovil Library, and N. Ravichandran for providing Rs. 8000 for erecting cycle shed at Keerambur Branch Library.

Presiding over, the Collector cautioned students about distractions in the forms of Internet and television, and to realise that progress was possible only through educational development.

Prize winners in quiz competition (first to third): R. Vignesh Kumar and V. Praveen Balaji of St. James Matriculation school, K. Anandavel and M. Jotheeswaran of R.C. Higher Secondary School, and L. Swarnalakshmi and K. Mariamma of Holy Cross Girls' Higher Secondary School.

Memory Competition (First two): J. Chriscet and K. Dharani of Montfort School, Kattur.

Story telling: T. Ishwarya and Arun Prakash Raj of Montfort School.

Essay writing: S. Sudarshan Sharma and Vipin Inigo of Montfort School.

Competitions were also conducted for readers. Winners in poetry writing: K. Natarajan of Iyyappa Nagar and R. Vijaya of Melapudur.

Library Awareness Slogan-writing: R. Prakash of Ponmalai and Rex Sahayaraj of Allithurai.

Story writing: M. Vasuki, student of Oxford Teacher Education College, and V. Indira of Cantonment.

Thirty readers became patrons of libraries during the celebrations by contributing Rs. 1,000 each, taking the total number of patrons to 2,830.