Book Exhibition at Jammu and Srinagar

On April 23rd 2011, marking the World Book Day, the biggest annual celebration of books and reading, the two oldest public libraries in Jammu & Kashmir hosted exhibitions of rare and reference books drawing large number of enthusiastic visitors.
Minister for Tourism & Culture, Nawang Rigzin Jora inaugurated the exhibition at SRS Central Library, Jammu and described the displayed collection as an intellectual treat. He lauded the Department of Libraries for holding the exhibition. Director Libraries & Research, Khalid Bashir Ahmad briefed the Minister about the exhibition and the titles on display. Deputy Director, Rajinder Singh was also present.

The SRS Central Library is the oldest public library in J&K established in 1879. It was followed by setting up of SPS Central Library at Srinagar in 1898 where a similar book exhibition was thrown open for public today. During the day, a stream of visitors including school children visited the exhibitions to be face to face with their heritage.

Jora said that holding of events like these go a long way in inculcating the habit of book reading especially among the youth. He drew on history to highlight the importance the State had enjoyed in the past as a centre of learning and knowledge. He emphasized the need to reclaim this place of pride, adding that developing the habit of book reading would help in achieving this objective.

The Minister spoke about the initiatives taken by the Government in improving library facilities in Jammu & Kashmir. He said as an important measure, it has sanctioned the Automation of Public Libraries Project for the implementation of which an agreement with the National Informatics Centre has been reached. In the Pilot Phase costing Rs. 114 lakhs, four main libraries were being taken up for automation and computerization, he said, adding that funds have been released to the project executing agency and the work is expected to start very soon. The NIC has also been approached for digitization of the precious collection of rare books, he said. Infrastructure development and purchase of new and quality books including titles on competitive examinations are other measure taken by the Department. He asked the people, especially the youth, to avail of these facilities.