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The Department of Libraries & Research is engaged in dissemination of knowledge by providing free library and reading room facilities to public in Jammu & Kashmir. The Department runs a chain of public libraries in blocks, tehsils, districts and divisions of the State. From small children to aged people and students to scholars, every section of the society is benefited from the facility.
The first public library in Jammu & Kashmir was established by the then ruler, Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1879 at Jammu. Named as SRS Library, it was followed by setting up of another library, SPS Library at Srinagar, in 1898 by Maharaja Pratap Singh. In 1904, the Department of Research & Publication was established and, in 1919, the SPS Library was separated from the SPS Museum and brought under the control of the Department of Research and Publication.
In 1961, a separate Department of Libraries, Research & Museum was created in J&K and district libraries set up at Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla, Leh, Doda and Udhampur. In 1977 and 1982, the Department was amalgamated with Achieves Department and Education Department, respectively. However, in 1986, the Department of Libraries reassumed its independent character as Department of Libraries & Research. In order to promote the culture of book reading, the Department holds book exhibitions, seminars and debates at district level every year.
" A library is a place where history comes to life "
Besides making books on various subjects available to people at public libraries, the reading community is also provided national and local newspapers and magazines to keep them abreast with the latest happenings around the globe. Special Children Corners have been added to Central and District Libraries for the benefit of the younger generation.
By way of promotion of book writing in the State, the Department purchases books written by local authors on different subjects and in different languages.
The activity of the Department helps in the promotion of regional languages of the State. The Department has now added to its library collections books on competitive examinations to help the student community prepare for these examinations. There are 139 public libraries and lending depots/reading rooms across the State.