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Initiative to transform libraries halted in J&K


Srinagar, Sep 20: Two years back, the libraries in Jammu and Kashmir under the control of concerned directorate were Ill equipped, lacked infrastructure, were in print mood only beside it had issued of human resource etc.
The things started to change after Directorate of libraries entered into an agreement with the IPLM (Indian Public Library Movement).
In two years since 2016, there was revitalization and re-vibration of libraries across the state in pursuance to a Memorandum of Understating reached with Department of Libraries & Research and the IPLM New Delhi.
The IPLM through NASSCOM had conversion of libraries from print mode to digital mode, launched e-learning programme for JEE & NEET examination preparation, established computer sections, there was renovation of reading rooms and children section and libraries became more active spaces and librarians were more engaged by the inclusion of new services and new responsibilities given to them.
The IPLM provided computers, printers, laptops and internet facilities to the twelve intervention libraries.
The automation process was also started but all came to halt despite directorate of libraries and the IPLM agreeing to extend the agreement beyond July 2018.
Khazana Aziz, project officer, said that the IPLM conducted several training programmes across the state for providing training and honing development skills of the directorate staff to transform the libraries into the knowledge spaces across the state.
“That IPLM further took up the job improvement in look and feel of the libraries at their own cast without involving any expenditure from the department of libraries,” she said.
The state government and department of libraries, she said, had not to spend one single penny on the wholesome activities taken up by the IPLM in the state as the same was funded the Bill gates organization. “The initiatives of IPLM transformed the libraries across the state and it provided the huge exposure to human resources of libraries,” she said.
Since the IPLM had some more funds (Rs 60 lakh) out the earmarked (Rs1.5 crore) funds for the state, the money remains unspent as the MOU which expired on July 31 has not been extended.
“Although it was agreed in a meeting held on 05 June 2018 between the Executive Director IPLM and then Director Libraries at Srinagar that MOU shall be extended up to 31st March 2019 but there is no headway,” she said.
Talking to GNS, Director Libraries & Research said that IPLM has been asked to provide expenditure for money spent by it in the state.
“Before I joined, they were asked to submit expenditure statement. They seem to be reluctant,” the director said, adding, “We are looking forward to it (continuing the process of revitalization and re-vibration of libraries) but it should be done as per our needs and not as per IPLM’s whims. We want to know where they have spent the money.”
Some officials of the Directorate of Libraries said that government should order an internal inquiry as to why such scheme was not extended despite being beneficial to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
They said that some officials of the Directorate want to make purchases of computers and other material directly through their own agents for some other motives.