BHUBANESWAR: Those dull and dimly lit reading rooms at the Harekrushna Mahatab State Library will give way to spacious, illuminated and well-stocked ones soon. The library is ready for a major revamp in infrastructure and set to go online, too.
To address the problem of inadequate reading room facilities in the library, the authorities of Culture Department - which manages the library - had decided to construct an annexe building at a cost of over ` 2 crore. Work in this regard is nearing completion.
The building would house additional reading rooms with all infrastructural facilities like drinking water and conference halls. “The building is almost over and only some works related to making the building disabled-friendly is being carried out at present,” said Director of Culture Department and the library Sushil Kumar Das.
This apart, digital cataloguing of books and periodicals will be done in phases. At present, classification of books according to category is done only in registers.
Even as the decision of digitising was taken last year, the project was pending for technical reasons. Last month, the Deputy Director (Culture) and officer in-charge of the library Bhabani Prasad Ray attended a two-day meeting in Hyderabad in this regard. A fresh proposal for funding of the digitising project will be submitted to the chairman of Raja Ram Mohan Rai Library Foundation, a pivotal organisation supporting libraries across India, in a fortnight, he said. An amount of over ` 50 lakh will be required for the purpose.
After this, it would be extended to 26 district libraries managed by the Culture Department. “Following the digitising process, all the libraries managed by the department will be interlinked which can be of immense help for readers. They can access any book from any library at the click of a mouse,” said Das. The help of the National Informatics Centre will also be sought for digitising work under the e-Granthalaya software.
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. As per records, the library has 1,77,000 books on various subjects and subscribes to 56 magazines a month. It gets around 300 visitors a day.