The Department of Public Libraries has taken steps to attract the literate section of rural populace, particularly the youth, to the 64 village libraries.

While footfall in the city’s District Central Library and branch libraries in semi-urban locations is along expected lines, in villages, even the literate section of the public apparently prefer television entertainment over books, according to officials.

Barring five village libraries started in recent years, each of the other libraries in Tiruchi district has a collection of 7,000 to 8,000 books. They can accommodate 10 persons at a time, according to A.P. Sivakumar, District Library Officer.

The department, he said, had been motivating the village librarians to target young readers.

70 new-appointees

At a day-long training programme for 70 newly-appointed village librarians in Tiruchi and Pudukkottai districts conducted at the District Central Library here on Friday, the focus was on ways to attract and retain readers. The village librarians possessing a minimum of Plus Two qualification had completed certificate course in library science to qualify for appointment to the post through the employment exchange.

They had been mandated with the task of identifying potential readers and make them regular readers by providing them with books. Each library subscribes to five dailies, including a mainstream English newspaper. Tamil periodicals that interest women are being subscribed. To serve job-seekers, Employment News and Employment Service are bought. And Competition Success Review is being purchased to attract youth.

“Building human relationship is vital for enhancing patronage for the libraries in villages where the habit of reading is abysmally low. The new appointees were oriented on the methodology of projecting village libraries as the platform for knowledge empowerment,” Mr. Sivakumar said.

Ally Sornam, Head, Department of Library Science, Bishop Heber College, inaugurated the programme. Raman of Base Institute of Management Studies, a HR trainer, handled the sessions.

District Library Officer of Pudukkottai Palanichamy and Vice-President of Readers’ Forum, Tiruchi, B. Govindasamy, spoke