BHUBANESWAR: The Union Culture Ministry has decided to develop two libraries in Odisha under the National Mission on Libraries. These are Harekrushna Mahatab State Library at Bhubaneswar and the District Library at Ganjam.
Earlier this year, the Ministry had announced the ‘National Mission on Libraries - Upgradation of Libraries’ scheme that aimed at overall development of select libraries across the country and a total outlay of `400 crore was approved for the purpose by the Central Government under the 12th Plan period. The Ministry chose the Harekrushna Mahatab State Library to upgrade its technology and Ganjam District Library for both technology and infrastructure development. Apparently, Ganjam District Library would be developed as a Model Library under the new scheme.
The Central Government has approved `223 lakh for Harekrushna Mahatab State Library and the amount for the district library is `40.36 lakh. While the officials concerned of both the libraries have been asked to conduct survey to find out the extent of development works required, the money will be sanctioned after survey reports are submitted to the Ministry.
This apart, work on capacity building of library personnel will be taken up under the mission. They will be given need-based training to improve their managerial skills and competence to utilise Information Communication Technology (ICT) applications. Kolkata-based Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation is the nodal agency for the implementation of National Mission on Libraries.
Although Odisha Government had made digitisation plans for Harekrushna Mahatab Library two years back, these could not materialise. Last year, the library officials had submitted a proposal to National Informatics Centre for digitisation work under e-Granthalaya software, but it is learnt that the project is pending due to technical reasons. 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 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.
The Ganjam District Library, on the other hand, is in urgent need of repair.