COIMBATORE: Book exhibitions conducted by the Department of Public Libraries along with publishers associations will be extended to rural areas this year, Thangam Thennarasu, Minister for School Education, said here on Saturday.
Inaugurating a conference organised by the Department of Public Libraries, he said the exhibition was held in a big way in Chennai followed by Coimbatore and Madurai.
Most of the libraries in the Coimbatore-Erode-the Nilgiris region were lacking in facilities. This year, Rs.2.28 crore had been earmarked for public libraries. Steps to initiate modernisation of libraries would also be taken.
Unlike the step-motherly treatment accorded to the department earlier, efforts were on by the Government to strengthen it. During the last three to four years, no books had been purchased. But, this year, the libraries have been asked to buy at least 1,000 books. Books worth Rs.10.75 crore had already been purchased. A public library of international standards was coming up at Chennai on nine acres of land, he added.
The vacancies in libraries would also be filled up in due course, Mr. Thennarasu said. He announced that Rs.10 lakh would be allotted to Valparai for putting in place mobile libraries. The conference covering Coimbatore, Erode and the Nilgiris districts would help focus attention on the way public libraries functioned, he added.
Rural Industries Minister Pongalur N. Palanisamy said modern facilities should be introduced in libraries. Public libraries, especially those in the Coimbatore region needed a facelift. They should be air-conditioned and be provided new furniture. The libraries should also provide material for those preparing for civil service examinations, he added. A website on Government Public Libraries was also launched at the conference.