The State government is taking steps to digitally connect government libraries in taluks with those in districts for rendering better service to readers, said School Education Minister Thangam Thenarasu on Saturday.

Talking to The Hindu, he said that having electronically connected district central libraries with Connemara Public Library, their next step was to connect libraries in taluks so that people in remote areas can have access to vast collection of books in those libraries. This would be followed up by networking libraries in rural areas.

Mentioning that the State government adopted a multi-pronged strategy to ensure balanced growth of libraries in the State, he said that over 335 libraries were upgraded in the last four-and-a-half years, which witnessed an investment of Rs.55 crore to procure 15,000 books, of which Rs.6 crore was set aside for Tamil books.

The State government also took efforts to develop private libraries as well as school libraries and efforts were on to appoint librarians in the schools.

Participating in the week-long 43rd National Library Week celebrations, Mr. Thenarasu distributed Best Librarian Award to 35 people. The award consisted of a silver medal, a certificate and cash prize of Rs.2,000 each. Next year, the State government plans to include those serving in village libraries too. Delivering the valedictory address, he asked the young generation to read knowledge-based books and the parents to maintain a ‘mini-library.'

R. Ramasamy, Field Officer (South Zone), Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation, said that they had spent Rs.1.50 crore on computerisation and networking libraries in districts of Tamil Nadu and similarly Rs.1.10 crore was earmarked libraries in taluks. The Foundation also offered financial grants to NGO for purchase of books, furniture and other items up to Rs.3 lakh.