J&K takes major leap towards modernization of Public Libraries

With the launching of Rs. 116.72 lakh pilot phase of the Automation and Networking of Public Libraries Project on October 28, 2011, J&K took a major leap towards providing modern library services to book lovers. Initially, State’s four major public libraries including SRS Central Library, Jammu, SPS Central Library, Srinagar, Oriental Research Library, Hazratbal and City Central Library, Karan Nagar are being automated and networked while the rest would be taken up in the second phase.

The project was launched by Minister for Tourism & Culture, Nawang Rigzin Jora at an impressive function at the oldest public library in Kashmir, the SPS Central Library established in the year 1898. Minister of State for Home, Urban Development, Tourism & Culture, Nasir Aslam Wani, Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Tourism & Culture Department, Atal Dulloo, Commissioner/Secretary, Revenue, Kachu Asfand Yar Khan, Director Libraries & Research, Khalid Bashir Ahmad, senior officers of National Informatics Centre - the project executing agency -, prominent citizens, writers and authors were present.

Describing the project as an important milestone in upgrading library services, Mr. Jora said it would bring J&K at par with national and international standards. He said Jammu & Kashmir has a 132 year history of public library service as the first library in the State, the SRS Library, was established at Jammu in 1879 followed by setting up of SPS Library at Srinagar in 1898. He said with such a long history it was very essential to switch over to the automated library management to meet the present day requirement.

The Minister described the launch of the project as a significant step towards revolutionizing library services in the State and complimented Director Libraries for taking this initiative as well as many others to upgrade library facilities in the State. He said due to a long turmoil public library services like other sectors had suffered setback but have now been put on the rails again with several initiatives taken by the department for the improvement of infrastructure and collection. He said that the project has multiple benefits, both for the service provider and the service recipient, including computerized classification, cataloguing, accession, storage, retrieval and circulation of books, online information on library collection, increase in operational efficiency, substantial improvement in quality, speed and effectiveness of the services, access to remote users, user participation in resource-sharing library networks, rapid communication with other libraries (including outreach libraries), greater transparency in the purchase of titles for public libraries, and removal of chances of duplication in purchase of books. He said on successful completion of the Pilot Phase other public libraries in the State would also be taken up for automation and networking. ....