UTLLACPC presses for urgent infrastructure upgradation, digitization of JK’s Public Libraries
Srinagar: The Department of Libraries & Research, J&K and the School Education Department are jointly going to establish Reading-cum-Career Development Centres in various educational institutions to facilitate coaching and mentoring of students for various competitive examinations.
This was announced at the conclusion of 2-day meeting of J&K UT-Level Library Advisory-cum-Purchase Committee (UTLLACPC) held at SPS Library Complex here under the chairmanship of Director, Libraries & Research, Mohammad Rafi.
The Director Libraries said under the joint arrangement, School Education Department would be requested to provide suitable space in selected educational institutions, especially in far-flung and remote areas of J&K, for setting up dedicated Reading-cum-Career Development Centres while free and quality online/offline resources for various Competitive Exams including IAS/JKAS, NEET, JEE, AIPMT, CET, UPSC/JKPSC, NET/SLET, SSB, GMAT, CLAT, CAT etc would be provided for these Centres by the Department of Libraries & Research.
He said the Department of Libraries took the initiative of making available free reference material for various Competitive Exams in its libraries in 2021 evoking huge response from the aspirants. “Today Reading Halls of most of our libraries remain jampacked for the whole day as a large number of students regularly visit these libraries to take advantage of the free resources available for various competitive examinations,” he said and added that given the overwhelming response of the students, the Department has increased the operational timing of the two Central Libraries – SPS Library Srinagar and SRS Library Jammu and some district libraries. These libraries, he said, are now open from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm and are also functioning on Sundays.
Mr Rafi said to widen the reach of Career Development initiative, the Department has now decided to join hands with the School Education Department to reach out to the students in far-flung and remote areas of J&K with quality resources for competitive examinations. “Most of the meritorious students in the remote areas don’t have access to quality reading resources for competitive examinations because of topographical and the cost barriers,” he said and added that the establishment of proposed Reading-cum- Career Development Centres in educational institutions in these areas would facilitate the desirous students free access to the requisite quality resources and the refence material at their doorstep.
He said in the first phase these Reading-cum-Career Development Centres would be established in selected educational institutions in the districts of Kupwara, Budgam, Pulwama, Udhampur, Samba and Rajouri.
Hailing the recent interventions made by the Department of Libraries & Research to transform J&K’s Public Libraries as multi-faceted hubs for Youth Development, UTLLACPC observed that, subject to the availability of resources, there is still a lot of scope for further improvement in this vital social sector especially on the infrastructure front as most of the libraries in J&K are lacking in basic facilities like furniture & furnishing, drinking water, separate toilets for ladies and the requisite IT infrastructure.
In other decisions UTLLACPC approved establishment of a Library-cum-Reading Centre at Polo Ground Srinagar in collaboration with the Department of Gardens, Parks & Floriculture. Establishment of public libraries and Reading centres were also approved for Shrakwara and Kachwamuqan in district Baramulla, Kellar in district Shopian, Lar in district Ganderbal and Kachhama in district Kupwara. The meeting also approved establishment of e-Libraries at GPS Sordhi, Rajpura, Kullian and Chak Hira in district Samba. The meeting also reviewed the progress achieved on the decisions taken in the last UTLLACPC meeting including upgradation of Gani Memorial Central Library, Rajouri Kadal, Srinagar and District Library Samba under the centrally sponsored scheme – National Mission on Libraries (NML) and setting up of IT Hubs at SRS Library Jammu and SPS Library Srinagar.
The Committee recommended that given its historic importance and rich repository of manuscripts and rare books, a Manuscript Conservation Centre should be set up at Oriental Research Library Srinagar through the National Mission on Manuscripts (NMM) and ORL should be also got enlisted as a Manuscript Resource Centre.
In other decisions, the Committee called for putting in place a regulatory mechanism through the Department of Libraries & Research to regulate the functioning of Private Libraries & Reading Rooms in J&K.
In this regard, the Committee suggested that the Libraries Department should approach the Govt for laying down a framework for functioning of such Libraries & Reading Rooms so that the needy students and readers are not exploited.
Proposals for automation and digitization of District Libraries and establishment of Digital Libraries were also discussed by the Committee.
UTLLACPC also approved the list of books of the local authors to be purchased by the Department of Libraries & Research for its Libraries.
Besides UTLLACPC members, the meeting was attended by Deputy Director, Libraries Jammu/Kashmir; Assistant Director, Libraries & Research Kashmir; Chief Librarians of ORL Srinagar, SPS Library Srinagar; SRS Library Jammu and other officials.
UTLLACPC members who attended the meeting included Satish Vimal, expert Hindi language; Liaqat Jafri, expert Urdu language; Rajeshwar Singh Raju, expert Dogri language; Ghulam Nabi Haleem, expert Kashmiri Language; Surinder Neer, expert Punjabi Language; Prof Parvez Majeed, Media Studies and Kulbushan Malhotra.