NEW DELHI: In view of the coronavirus pandemic, the Delhi government will organise its annual mega book fair in virtual mode to allow government schools to procure books for their libraries.
The Directorate of Education (DoE) has decided to allow a panel of over 200 publishers to be part of the event. These publishers had showcased over 9,000 books and titles — selected or recommended by the Library Technical Committee — at the fair’s last edition in 2019.
An online module was designed to display the image of the book cover, abstract of each title and other details of all the selected manuscripts.
After previewing the published work available on the online module, the schools will be able to select the books for their libraries.
“Due to the precarious nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, holding a physical face to face mega book fair does not seem feasible. The procurement of books of general reading for all the government schools under the DoE will be done through a virtual mode,” said a circular issued by the DoE.
Before the concept of this mega book fair was introduced in 2016, schools would make purchases independently.
The government introduced this event when it found that books were bought allegedly through lobbying and favours.
There are 1,024 state government-run schools in the city. According to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the annual event has revolutionized the system of libraries.
It provides an opportunity to choose the right kind of books wisely without falling into the greed of any kind, he said.
In 2019-20, the Delhi government allocated `9 crore to the government for purchasing books. While half of the fund was reserved for Classes 9 to 12 for subject reading, the rest 50 per cent was for general
As per the economic survey of 2020-21, the Delhi government purchased 7.33 lakh books for school libraries. It set up 4,513 classroom libraries in primary section alone.
“The publishers will have to deliver the ordered books at the doorsteps of the schools within 45 days, beginning from the last day of the fair failing which the selected company will be denied the permission to participate in the process of procurement of books for one year,” said an official.