The digitisation project of Harekrushna Mahatab State Library is yet to see the light of the day. While the Culture Department __ which manages the library __ has been mooting the much-needed digitisation plan for a long time now, there has been little progress at the ground-level. Although the Library gets over 300 readers every day, it does not have a proper catalogue of existing books and journals.
Last year, the library officials had submitted a proposal to the National Informatics Centre for digitisation work of the Library under the e-Granthalaya software, but it is learnt the project has been pending for technical reasons. Under this, digital cataloguing of books and periodicals would be done. At present, classification of books according to category is done only in registers. The Library has 1,77,000 books on various subjects and subscribes to 56 magazines a month. Worse, the collection of old official documents and files in the depository section are gathering dust.
This apart, a proposal for funding the digitisation project was submitted to the Raja Ram Mohan Rai Library Foundation, a pivotal organisation supporting libraries across India, by the Department a few months back. That too has yielded no response till date. An amount of over Rs 50 lakh is required for the purpose.
Director of Culture Department and Library, Sushil Kumar Das, admitted there has not been much development in the work.
“A New Delhi-based software organisation was also approached for the computerisation work, but a final model for the work has not been finalised yet. We are hopeful of preparing a concrete plan for digitisation this year,” he said. After the State Library, the department aims to extend digitisation to 26 district libraries it manages.
Planned by Des Raj Kalia, the doyen of public library services in India, the four-decade-old Library has two sections __ the State Library and the Bhubaneswar Public Library. While the former is a reference and research library accessible only to research scholars, the public library is open to general readers.
To address the problem of inadequate reading room facilities in the Library, the Culture Department recently constructed an annexe building at a cost of over Rs 2 crore.