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More than 70,000 public libraries in India and its untapped potential: A study in contrast

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A library. VOA
  • 4,028 public libraries in Tamil Nadu that serve its 67.8 million population
  • Tamil Nadu and Karnataka passed their library legislation in 1948 and 1965
  • The public libraries in states that have had their “library legislations” in place for a long time have naturally benefited over the years

New Delhi, May 31, 2017: A meagre total of 75 public libraries are serving the over 200 million population of Uttar Pradesh. Compare this to 4,028 public libraries in Tamil Nadu that serve its 67.8 million population and a study in contrast emerges.

To add to its woes, Uttar Pradesh spends just about Rs 22 crore on its libraries while the amount spent by states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka run into hundreds of crores. Even from the Rs 22 crore that it spends on its public libraries, about Rs 20 crore goes into maintenance and salaries.

Sad as it may sound, the state spends just about Rs 2 crore on outreach activities and on new books.

Why such disparity in the first place?

One reason may be the delay in passing the library legislation by some states. For instance, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka passed their library legislation in 1948 and 1965, respectively, while Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan passed their legislation in 2006; followed by Lakshadweep in 2007, Bihar in 2008, and Chhattisgarh and Arunachal Pradesh in 2009. Several states still do not have a library legislation in place.

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The public libraries in states that have had their “library legislations” in place for a long time have naturally benefited over the years and are better equipped today than their counterparts.

But is that the sole reason?

Perhaps no, when you look at the range of sources from which funds are available for public libraries, and the disinterest of several states in seeking these funds.

The Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF), which is the nodal agency of the government of India to support public library services and systems, has been supporting public as well as private libraries since its inception in 1972.

Its budget runs into a thousand million rupees and it supports approximately 34,000 out of the 70,000 public libraries in India under its various schemes. The irony is that despite the availability of funds, all states do not send in proposals.

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“We can only grant funds if we receive a proposal and are satisfied by it, but so many states, despite repeated letters, do not send their proposals in the first place,” Arun Kumar Chakraborty, Director General, RRRLF, told IANS on the sidelines of an All Stakeholders’ Meeting organised by the Indian Public Library Movement (IPLM) in the capital.

But why do many states fail to utilise available resources to boost their public libraries?

Experts say it is because the librarians and policymakers in several states are not trained in the field. They do not possess the wherewithal to improve the functioning of their libraries and merely continue with a “Chalta Hai” attitude.

IPLM’s recent meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Culture (MoC) and the National Mission on Libraries (NML), RRRLF officials, IPLM partners and directors of Public Library Department/Directorate, their deputies and chief librarians, among others.

Pankaj Rag, Joint Secretary, MoC, encouraged the state governments to utilise the services and funds provided under several initiatives and also enhance their own budget for public libraries.

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In his presentation on RRRLF Schemes and Fund Utilisation, Soumen Sarkar, Deputy Director, RRRLF, mentioned that due to poor fund appropriation by the state governments, they are not able to show utilisation of all the funds received from the Central government which leads to reduction in their proposed budget the next year.

The bottom line that emerges from conversations with these stakeholders is the immense potential of 70,000 public libraries in the country that is yet untapped.

Shubhangi Sharma, Executive Director, IPLM Secretariat, says that there is a need for coordinated efforts by all and support to librarians to tap into available schemes and resources from within the system — in addition to building partnerships and alliances.

“What is required is to build capacities of the human resources available in these institutions to be able to better engage with the community, the surrounding ecosystem; to understand the changing knowledge needs and envision their role as a knowledge partner. Libraries also need to initiate new services, new programmes on the basis of emerging needs and developmental challenges which will help in increasing footfalls,” Sharma said.

While movements like IPLM are working towards helping libraries to become new age knowledge institutions, a concerted effort is needed by the states to improve the condition of libraries in India.

For now, MoC and NML representatives, and the RRRLF appear more than interested in transforming the image of ill-maintained public libraries. To what extent they will succeed remains to be seen. (IANS)

Next Story

Adobe Photoshop on iPad Provides New Opportunities to Youngsters in India

Adobe has also made it possible to import photos directly from your SD card or USB drive into the iOS version of Lightroom

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Although Adobe Photoshop on iPad was completely done in the US, the incremental syncing part was achieved in India. IANS

Thirty years and still going strong, Adobe Photoshop remains the most loved design tool for creators and professional designers. Now, iPad lovers in India are thrilled to try their hands on the software tool and let their imaginations fly.

Photoshop on iPad allows young users to craft composites with fingers and retouch images with Apple Pencil. Your PSDs will remain the same, whether you’re working on desktop or iPad.

Adobe Photoshop that arrived on iPads globally in November brings core compositing and retouching workflows to iPad.

For the millennials, this is a great opportunity to become a creative pro as Photoshop on iPad is an intuitive, more accessible entry point to the Adobe tool for new users.

It features full PSD (Photoshop document files) interoperability, a touch-based user interface (UI), Cloud document access, and the power to work on real-world, multi-layered creations.

“We’re excited to push the frontiers of creativity to make everyone more productive and express their creative vision — not only seasoned professionals, but also the next generation of designers, photographers, filmmakers and illustrators,” Scott Belsky, Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President, Creative Cloud, Adobe, told the gathering at the recently-concluded Adobe Max conference in Los Angeles.

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Thirty years and still going strong, Adobe Photoshop remains the most loved design tool for creators and professional designers. Now, iPad lovers in India are thrilled to try their hands on the software tool and let their imaginations fly. Pixabay

Open up full-size PSDs on your desktop or iPad and store them in the cloud – no conversion necessary.

You get the same fidelity, power, and performance no matter what device you’re working on, even when you’re designing with thousands of layers.

“Use quick gestures and touch shortcuts to make edits directly on your canvas and speed up your workflow. With context-aware user interface (UI), you display only the core tools and panes you need, so you can focus on your canvas, not the clutter,” says Adobe.

Next up is Adobe Illustrator which is slated to arrive on iPad next year. The teams at Adobe’s Noida R&D centre and Apple’s Cupertino-based headquarters in the US are busy finalizing and preparing for the final release of the much-anticipated product.

“We are already doing complete R&D for Illustrator and InDesign. The upcoming Illustrator on iPad, which has received rave reviews, is entirely being done at our Noida R&D centre,” Shanmugh Natarajan, MD and VP of Product at Adobe India, told IANS recently.

The company has previewed Adobe Illustrator’s future with a reimagined touch-based app that brings the precision and versatility of the desktop experience to iPad.

Although Adobe Photoshop on iPad was completely done in the US, the incremental syncing part was achieved in India.

Adobe has also made it possible to import photos directly from your SD card or USB drive into the iOS version of Lightroom. Previously, users had to import images to their camera roll, then copy them over into Lightroom’s library.

Adobe
Adobe Photoshop on iPad allows young users to craft composites with fingers and retouch images with Apple Pencil. Your PSDs will remain the same, whether you’re working on desktop or iPad. Pixabay

Here are the plans for Indian lovers who want Adobe experience on their iPads. The “Photography (20GB)” plan with Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, and Photoshop is available for Rs 676 a month (excluding GST). If you purchase this plan by January 31, you get Photoshop on iPad for free.

In the “Adobe Photoshop Single App” plan, get Photoshop on desktop and iPad as part of Creative Cloud for Rs 1,420.

ALSO READ: Use of Information Technology Can Save Police Personnel from Death in Line of Duty

For the “All Apps” plan, get Photoshop on desktop and iPad, plus the entire collection of creative apps for Rs 3,585.

Students and teachers can save over 60 per cent on the entire collection of Creative Cloud apps for just Rs 1,353. (IANS)