Sad state of Indian libraries | Fusion - WeRIndia

Sad state of Indian libraries

Sad state of Indian libraries

A surprising gap lies between the number of libraries in some states and others. For example, the entire 200 million person population of Uttar Pradesh has only 75 libraries provided to them, while the population of Tamil Nadu, at 67.8 million, has a total of 4028 libraries for its citizens to use. States like Uttar Pradesh also only spend about ₹22 crores on their libraries, whereas ones like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka can spend hundreds of crores on them.

Such small spending states only spend about ₹ 2 crores on outreach and new books for the libraries, while the rest simply goes into their maintenance and pay. This leads to a stark contrast between states: why do some of them pay much less attention to their libraries than others?

There are a couple of reasons for this, and one stems from the origin of library registrations. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, for example, passed their registrations half a century ago, while the registrations of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan only go back about a decade. Some states, even today, still do not have any library registrations in place.

However, that is not the sole reason for this gap in attentiveness. Since its founding in 1972, the Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation, or RRRLF, has been supporting libraries both public and private.

It supports about half of the Indian public libraries, giving money in billions of rupees, and yet many states do not send in their proposals. This is because, in such states with very recent registration or none at all, there are librarians and makers of library policies that are not experts in the field, and have no means to keep the libraries functioning.

The recent Indian Public Library Movement meeting came to several conclusions on the potential of Indian libraries. The Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, or MOC, has encouraged state governments to take the services and funds provided to them for their libraries and also to increase their own budgets for them.

The Deputy Director of the RRRLF, Soumen Sakar, also mentioned that their budget may be reduced next year due to the poor funding of state governments. In the end, the seventy thousand libraries in India have much potential that remains untapped.

The Executive Director of the IPLM, Shubhangi Sharma, has stated that all librarians must form coordinated efforts to tap into the system’s resources, as well as building partnerships, alliances, and the like. IPLM encourages increased knowledge on the nature of libraries’ needs and ways.

In the meantime, further efforts are also being pushed to increase state government funding to improve libraries’ conditions.

These groups are determined to see the improvement of the Indian library scene, but how much success they will have is still unknown.

Image from Pxhere (Free for commercial use / CC0 Public Domain)

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