Tamil Nadu

Public Libraries Act, Rules to be revisited

Conscious of the problem of lack of funds being faced by public libraries and the consequent adverse impact on development works of the Libraries Department, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to revisit the Public Libraries Act, 1948, and the Public Libraries Rules, 1950.

An eight-member high-level committee, headed by former Tamil University Vice-Chancellor M. Rajendran, has been constituted, according to an order issued by the Education Department last week. Among other members are N. Avudaiyappan, former director of Connemara Public Library; Sunder Ganesan, Director, Roja Muthiah Research Library; and Jagadish, former Library Director at the American Consulate, Chennai.

The government has named three special invitees, including Mary Rader, Librarian, South Asian Studies, University of Texas.

Pointing out that the Act and the Rules had not been amended suitably ever since they came into force, the order, quoting a communication of the Director of Public Libraries sent to the government last month, explained that as per a government order in May 1992, the library cess had been fixed at ₹0.1 (10 paise) per rupee to be collected from the local bodies through the proceeds of the property tax collections in accordance with Section 12(1)(a) of the Public Libraries Act. It was through this source of income, called Local Library Authority Fund, that development works were being carried out and the expenditure on the purchase of books, periodicals, magazines, stationery items and consumer articles, construction of buildings and their maintenance, repairs and the pay and allowances of library staff members was incurred. But the local bodies had not been remitting properly to the Local Library Authority Fund.

Improving finances

As the need had arisen for improving the finances of the public libraries and creating a permanent source of funding, the Act and the Rules required to be amended. There were a couple of other reasons for the proposed amendment to the legal provisions. They included numerous litigation over the service conditions of library employees, the need for streamlining the service conditions, the idea of direct recruitment to libraries and the plan to treat the Anna Centenary Library in Chennai and Kalaignar Library in Madurai as one unit, the order added.

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Printable version | May 25, 2022 9:48:46 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/public-libraries-act-rules-to-be-revisited/article38326409.ece