13 years on, Odisha's Kanika Library waits for books to return home

It also stated that faculty members have retained the books even after retirement and their transfer to other districts.
The more than 100-year-old Kanika Library at Ravenshaw University I Express
The more than 100-year-old Kanika Library at Ravenshaw University I Express

BHUBANESWAR: Over 200 books - including rare ones - of Ravenshaw University’s Kanika library, one of the oldest and biggest in the state, are awaiting return for as long as 13 years. Interestingly, these books have not been borrowed by students but by faculty members, including guest teachers and those who have already retired.

An internal audit of the university accounts for the financial year 2020-21, conducted by the institution, has revealed that 240 books issued to faculty members of various departments since 2010 have not been returned till date.

Some of these books are rare and by international publications. The audit team which scrutinised the register of the library, further pointed out that although the books have been retained by faculty members for a long period, no effective measures have been taken to get them back. It also stated that faculty members have retained the books even after retirement and their transfer to other districts.

The most expensive book among the lot is ‘Modern Polarographic Methods in Analytical Chemistry’ which is priced at $162 (Rs 13,445.28). The book was borrowed by a faculty member of Chemistry department since 2010. Similarly, another expensive book which awaits return is ‘Fundamental Neuroscience’ which is priced at 110 pounds (Rs 11,620.72). The book was borrowed by a faculty member of Zoology department in 2016. The total cost of the books borrowed by the faculty members is over Rs 2 lakh.

Similarly, books are also overdue in the name of a faculty member of the History department who passed away a few years back. Four guest faculty members in English, Psychology, History and Business Management departments borrowed books between 2011 and 2015 but haven’t returned them yet. 

As per the Higher Education department circular on operation of libraries in public universities, library books issued to faculty members shall be returned within 30 days from the date of issue. Non-teaching staff will have to return within 15 days.The audit found that no physical verification of books in the library is being carried out at regular intervals as per the government rules.

Registrar of the university Kahnu Charan Malik said a notice has been issued to all the faculty members to return the books. “In one case, a faculty member could not trace the borrowed book and deposited the cost of it in the university,” he said.

Established in 1922 and named after King of Kanika Sri Rajendra Narayan Bhanjadeo, who donated Rs 55,000 for setting up the facility, Kanika library is considered one of the oldest libraries of the state. Spread over 9,000 square feet, it has a rich collection of around 2.5 lakh books.

Issued and gone

 ‘Modern Polarographic Methods in Analytical Chemistry’ priced at $162
 ‘Fundamental Neuroscience’ priced at £110

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