THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: At a time when digitisation takes over the traditional academic systems, the librarians in various university libraries in the state are demanding a digital overhaul of the library system. In a meeting held recently, the librarians have requested Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) to automate the libraries of the universities. Sources said the request to make libraries available in digital format is under the consideration of KSHEC. However, KSHEC can’t give a time frame for the implementation.
At present, 13 universities in the state have in-house libraries. The Medical University and the Kerala Technological University have no libraries. But many of the university libraries are still using the traditional systems which keeps the students away who prefer e-books that they could read on their smart phones.
The librarians said that they needed a system which functions under a single network and in digital format so that they could easily identify the books. This they contend will enable a hassle-free communication and coordination between the university libraries.
“A digitised system in libraries should be in place. But we have to ensure that the software is an open source one like KOHA which is being used in certain universities. Similarly, the software to be used in the universities should be homogeneous. However, we know that it is tough to digitise the whole system as it may invite legal issues”, says K P Vijayakumar, President, Kerala Library Association.
Earlier, the state government had decided to make the services of all universities available online. The digital conversion process is underway, including digitisation of varsity announcements and making certificates available online. However, the digital conversion of libraries was exempted by the government as the automation of libraries needs more time.
Meanwhile, Rajan Varughese, Member Secretary, KSHEC told Express that the KSHEC would recommend the state government soon to digitise the university libraries.“The librarians have made a request. So we will convene a meeting again with the librarians. The suggestions in the meeting will be included in the recommendations to be given to the government. The digitisation of university libraries is a long-standing demand. So we will recommend and hope an action is taken soon. However, we can’t have a specific time frame”, Rajan said.