Sunday, August 30, 2009

'Develop libraries like malls'

DNA Correspondent, Sunday, August 30, 2009
In tune with the changes brought about in society with the economic and social developments in the last two decades, libraries need to be upgraded, especially with knowledge. In fact, the library culture needs to be nurtured and continued for the future.
Therefore, librarians need to work hard towards this end and make libraries more user- and people-friendly. On the occasion of Librarians' Day, a seminar on 'Information literacy and changing landscape of libraries' was organised by the Ahmedabad Library Network at the Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) on Saturday.
August 12 is celebrated as Librarians' Day, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Dr SR Ranganathan, the father of the Indian library movement. The entire month has seminars and workshops related to library science.
Addressing a gathering of more than 300 librarians and students, senior librarian of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA), H Anil Kumar said that with the social and economic developments that came along with free-trade policies, the role of libraries has changed.
"Libraries have always been a focal point of human life. However, they could not evolve as required and have become mere storerooms. Like the mall culture that has evolved over the years, wherein people have a variety of choices, libraries should change their physical outlook and create a learning ambience for students as well as teachers," Kumar said.
He stressed on the fact that the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has declared information literacy as a basic human right and that the US, Australia and many European countries have already adopted this. "However, India is still lagging behind," Kumar said.
The other speakers at the event said that the education delivery system should include having students and teachers use them. It should be designed in such a way that everyone can be a lifelong learner and such a system should start from school-level teaching, and learning should go beyond the classroom, they said.
The speakers also called on librarians to better understand and spread knowledge on the difference between digital, virtual, online and e-resources. They said that librarians must have the perception of right terms in order to search for relevant information online.
Dinesh Awasthi, director, EDI; Janak Parikh, president, AMA; and Bhagyesh Jha, commissioner of information, Gujarat Information Bureau, also delivered lectures at the event.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Delhi Book Fair opens with international participation

Madhur Tankha, The Hindu, NEW DELHI, August 29, 2009
15th edition of the Annual Book fair features books from Abu Dhabi, China, Iran, Pakistan and the United States, in addition to India.
Stating that books play a significant role in shaping the mindset of the younger generation, Union Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Salman Khurshid on Saturday appealed to India publishers to bring out books that are constructive, secular and progressive in outlook.
Inaugurating the 15th edition of the Delhi Book Fair-2009 at Pragati Maidan here, he complimented the India Trade Promotion Organisation and the Federation of Indian Publishers for institutionalising a book event of international stature.
Pointing out the significant role played by books in national integration by “building literary bridges across the socio-cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of the country,” Mr. Khurshid expressed happiness over the considerable growth of the Indian publishing sector and its integration with the global book market.
The Minister emphasised the need for some of the eminent Indian authors publishing in English language to consider publishing in the country rather than overseas. “This would eliminate the waiting time for such books to reach book lovers in India. I am optimistic that the issue of volumes or attitudinal factors that may be coming in the way of publishing such books in the country could be appropriately sorted out.”
Welcoming overseas exhibitors from Abu Dhabi, China, Iran, Pakistan and the United States, Mr. Khurshid said that he hoped that the fair would give a fillip to enhancing international collaborations in publishing and business transactions. He pointed out that Pragati Maidan was not merely an exhibition ground but had become a focal point of vital every day life of the Capital.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary (Ministry of Culture) Jawhar Sircar disclosed that the Prime Minister had set up an advisory committee for the National Library for compilation and digitalisation of large number of books. “Ninety thousand books published every year in India are sent to The National Library. As a result of the process of digitalising and modernising the cataloguing process, many books lying unattended will be made available to readers. It was estimated that as part of the modernisation process it would take about two and half years to have all books in The National Library in the digital format.”
Mr. Sircar further commented that book fair was not just an event but a “cultural handshake that needs to be organised with meticulous care”.
The Delhi Book Fair is open up to September 6.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Five decades on, it continues to fascinate bibliophiles

Anupam Bhagria

Posted: Aug 04, 2009 at 0223 hrs IST

Ludhiana - In a city where affluence and extravagance rule the roost, there are many who love to spend time in the company of books. And for many of the bibliophiles in the city, the Panjab University Extension Library is the place to be.

Established in 1960, the library was one of the three prestigious libraries of India.

Prem Parkash Verma, who retired as librarian in 2003, said, "It was opened by the UGC and American PL 480 Plan (UNESCO) at Jaipur, Madurai and Ludhiana. While the remaining two have closed down, this continues to cater to a segment of the city's intelligentsia. The library started from rented rooms in the Zila Parishad complex in 1960. It was shifted to the present building in April 1967 and was formally inaugurated in February 1968 by V V Giri, the then President of India."

Since then, catering to the needs of readers, this beautiful monument stands in the form of an impressive academic structure in the heart of the city near the Fountain Chowk in Civil Lines.

It may not be an excellent architectural specimen but exudes a fragrance of books even as one enters the portals of this red stone building. The library, which started with 15,000 books, now boasts of more than 1.60 lakh volumes of different subjects and languages other than periodicals and newspapers.

According to Verma, "In 2003, the Panjab University Regional Centre came up here. Later, a newly-opened institute of law and an institute of management added feather to the library's cap. I feel that general readership declined perhaps due to the impact of computers and TV channels."

With more than 2,000 members on its rolls, many prefer to come here to prepare for their competitive exams in the serene environment of the elongated rooms.

Jaswinder Singh Dhillon, a youngster said, "I visit the library twice a week. It is such a nice place to study and of course the very ambiance charms me."

Recalling their old times, Sukhcharan Singh, a government schoolteacher, said, "I never bought any book during our post-graduation and used to come here to prepare notes. I scored very good marks and also qualified in my competitive exam after studying here."

Neena Sagar, an old student of SCD Government College for Boys, said, "I still cherish the moments I spent here while preparing for my exams in MA English. The old wooden chairs, the well-planned catalogues and of course the plethora of books always fascinated me."

Source: Expressindia