“School students should spend one hour everyday in the library in their schools and read books on various subjects to develop their general knowledge,” Industries Minister P. Thangamani has said. The Minister was addressing the students at the inauguration of the 45{+t}{+h}Library Week Celebration here on Friday.

He said that libraries had as important a role as education in shaping an individual as a wise person. He pointed out that there were 142 government libraries in the district – which includes a district library, 47 branch libraries, 67 rural libraries and 27 part-time libraries – with a total 14,66,234 books that are used by 1,87,959 members.

Mr. Thangamani also gave away books worth about Rs. 20 lakh to the District Central Library, Namakkal Kavignar Ramalingam Branch Library and to the libraries in 25 Government Higher Secondary Schools and the three Government Arts and Science Colleges in the district. He also gave away prizes to students who won essay writing and elocution competitions as part of the celebration. Collector D. Jagannathan told The Hindu that a set of 70 to 80 books worth Rs. 70,000 to 80,000 that were published by American publishers was given away to each of the libraries. “They cover a range of topics such as world history, basic science, literature, geography, economics, political science and international relations.”

He said that the books donated to the school libraries will have pictures to help the children understand the topics better. “All the books will be available in the reference section,” he added. The books were sponsored by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Asia Foundation Literary Campaign in South India. MLA K.P.P. Baskar and Municipal Chairman R. Karigalan were present.