The Centre will soon launch a centralised repository of books accessible at all libraries across the country, including the high-profile Parliament Library, the Prime Ministers’ Museum and Library and the collection at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Pilot in 13 libraries
The move which is likely to be hugely beneficial for academics, teachers and writers is being launched on a pilot basis in 13 libraries and would be replicated across the country after a review, a senior official of the Union Culture Ministry said.
These libraries include the ones at Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, the National Library Kolkata, Central Secretariat Library, New Delhi and the Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library.
The repository would be available on the Indian Culture Portal and would be chargeable, the official told The Hindu adding: “This is part of the ‘One Nation, One Library’ concept favoured by Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.
The concept would be unveiled and discussed at a festival of libraries being held in the national capital on August 5-6.
Festival of libraries
The unique festival of libraries, which will be inaugurated by President Draupadi Murmu, would also launch a special ranking system for libraries across India and hold exhibitions on allied crafts like Cartography, Calligraphy and Cursive Writing. A set of cursive writing books in the 22 Indian languages would also be released.
The festival will serve as a platform to showcase iconic libraries from around the world, initiating a dialogue on the modernization and digitization of libraries. It aims to facilitate the formulation of action-oriented policies for the development of Model Libraries in India, right down to the village and community levels.
The event will include roundtable discussions and panels where participants can explore library best practices from Indian states and libraries worldwide. There will be a panel discussion which would be attended by members of G 20 and SCO nations.
“Libraries preserve manuscripts and bridge the gap between history and the limitless future. Our digital library initiative breaks barriers, empowering all citizens with access to knowledge,” Minister of State for Culture Arjun Ram Meghwal told the media announcing the festival here.
India has 54,856 public libraries. The Culture Ministry through the Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation promotes and supports public library systems and services in India. The RRRL foundation provides annual funding and support to nearly 6,000-7,000 libraries across the country.
The government also launched a special mission called the National Mission on Libraries (NML) in 2014 with a budget allocation of ₹400 crores. Under the scheme, six libraries under the Culture Ministry, 35 Central Libraries in states and 35 district libraries are to be developed as model libraries with an emphasis on developing these libraries in economically backward districts. It also aims to provide network connectivity at 629 district libraries across the states.