Indian Public Library Conference Discusses Govt. Policies on Day 2

New Delhi, 5 October: The second day of the third Indian Public Library Conference 2017, the annual conference of the Indian Public Library Movement for transforming Public Libraries with the theme ‘Reaching the unreached’ witnessed debates by parliamentarians at the India Habitat Center. The three-day long conference features multiple forums around the role public libraries could play in reaching the unreached.

While the first dayfeatured discussions around the potential and the possibilities for a betterpublic library experience, the second day saw engaging conversations involvingpoliticians and parliamentarians discussing the implementation part of itincluding Govt. policies and legislations in making transformation of publiclibraries a reality.


The highlightsession of the day were the Policy Makers spoke about the role of policy intransforming public libraries. Moderating the session was Madhavan Narayanan,eminent journalist and writer. In an interesting question & answerssession, Mr. Arif Mohammad Khan,Former Cabinet Minister, said, “We often talk about making India a knowledge destination. However, ithas always been a knowledge destination. Even when we do talk about it, Indiacannot be a knowledge destination without books.  The problem is not thelack of resources, but the need to create awareness of the availability and theimportance of these resources.”


Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi, Member of Parliament in Lok Sabha, said, “Ithink early childhood is the right time to inculcate reading habits which thenlasts a lifetime. I don’t think we have paucity of resources in our country.With libraries we not only need to look up at the infrastructure but alsoproper running and management of it.  As an advocate of libraries and a sitting member of the parliament I am keen to learn what policies havebeen adapted by the foreign countries in this regard and what we can do about itour own country.”


The session titled ‘Citizen Speak About Public Libraries’debated the perception of the citizens about public libraries which have beencollected through market research and the ways and the means to strengtheningthese institutions. Dr. H.K Kaul, Director, DELNET, highlighted a lack ofconcern and awareness with respect to the roles public libraries can play inthe community today. Pradeep Narayanan, Director, Research & CapacityBuilding, Praxis India, emphasised that libraries were quite similar to theplaygrounds for children which helps in building a persona. P. Jayarajan, MBE,Chair, IPLM Advisory Board said that transforming libraries depended oneffective dissemination and publishing of research and evidence to multistakeholders. Mr. Ajaz Lone, M & E Specialist, IPLM talked about theimportance of baseline surveys to facilitate the diagnosis of issues andprescribe meaningful solutions to the issues public libraries face.  


On the role of Information Technology inthe library space, Dr. ARD Prasad, Head, Documentation, Research and TrainingCenter, Bangalore talked about foreseeing the role of a librarian as a datascientist and a guide in information sensing. P.K Upadhyay, Technical Director,National Information Centre stressed on taking advantage of the Digital Indiaprogram and utilizing the existing structures of the Govt. of India such as theNational Knowledge Network. Prof. Partha Pratim Das, Joint PrincipalInvestigator, National Digital Library Project, talked about building a‘knowledge ecosystem’ through various key interventions discussed by him. Dr.Jagdish Arora, Director INFLIBMET (UGC) discussed about the E- Resources andvarious challenges that it was facing including the huge number of languages inthe country. Dipendra Manocha, Director, Regional Resource Center, DaiseyConsortium highlighted the unavailability of digital books in Braille for theblind and how ‘Sugamya Pustakalaya’ was a fallback mechanism for it. Dr. DileepKonatham, Director IT, Govt. of Telangana informed how Telangana was going tobecome India’s first highly connected state through the laying of high-speedfiber grid.

There were alsoparallel sessions ideating on declining reading habits, partnerships andlibrary legislations. The session concluded with Mr. Arun Chakraborty, DirectorGeneral, Raja Rammouhan Library Foundation as Chief Guest. Welcomingparticipants on the concluding session of the IPLC was Mr. Shrikant Sinha, CEO,NASSCOM Foundation, who thanked the participants for their activeparticipation. Dr. Shubhangi Sharma, Executive Director of IPLM presented theKey Recommendations of IPLC 2017 followed by the five key demands presented tothe Ministry of Culture by Dr. B Shadrach, founding Chair and Advisor, IPLM.Mr. P Jayrajan, MBE, Chair, IPLM Advisory Board offered the vote of thanks.

The lively sessionsat the first two days of the Indian Public Library Conference addressed aplethora of issues being faced by Public Libraries in India as t drew to itsclosure. The third and the final day of the conference will have capacitybuilding workshops for the participating librarians and library sciencestudents on variety of issues pertinent to the public library space.

What: Indian Public LibrariesConference

When: 3-5 October, 2017, 9.30am onwards

Where: India Habitat Centre,Lodhi Road

Entry: By invitation only

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