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Thematic Workshop cum Panel discussion on
National Mission on Libraries

28 November 2013 (Thursday)
Time 12.15 – 1.15 pm
Venue: Stein Auditorium

Summary of workshop:
The Prime Minister in his inaugural speech for the National Knowledge Commission on 2nd August 2005, referring specially to libraries, said “Public libraries are an extremely important element of the foundation of a knowledge economy”. NKC recognized that one major pervading area that needs immediate and sustained attention is the Library and Information Service (LIS) sector.
The National Knowledge Commission (NKC) in its Report to the Nation (2006-09) recommended that a National Mission on Libraries should be set up leading to formation of a permanent National Commission on Libraries. National Knowledge Commission in its report recommended to set up a “National Mission on Libraries” to ensure sustained attention to the development of libraries. In keeping with the said recommendation of the NKC, Government of India vide its Gazette Notification dated 5th May, 2012 constituted a High Level Committee ( HLC) i.e. National Mission on Libraries (NML) consisting of ten members with Prof. Deepak Pental as the Chairman and Secretary, Ministry of Culture as the Convener.
On the basis of recommendations of the Working Groups and after further deliberations in the high Level Committee, NML decided to address the following core areas initially:
• Creation of National Virtual Library of India (NVLI).
• Setting up of NML model libraries
• Quantitative and Qualitative survey of libraries
• Capacity building

1. National Virtual Library of India
Digital era has also brought in 'digital divide' and has marked the society into digital haves and have-nots. It is no longer a matter of choice but rather a compulsion to find ways and means of bridging the gap between the two sections. Virtual library will go a long way in filling up the gap. The target users of NVL will be: students, researchers, doctors, professionals, and novice users, including educationally, socially, economically, physically disadvantaged groups.

2. Setting up of NML Model Libraries
Under the constitution, “Library” is a State Subject. Among the sixteen States which have legislated on the subject, only eight have a reasonably good Public Library System and infrastructural facilities. According to the National Mission on libraries, its primary focus will be to improve Library System services and infrastructure of the states, which are lagging behind.
In most of the public libraries in India there is a shortage of infrastructure, lack of modernization and networking facilities, lack of fund to acquire latest print and on-line resources. The ICT has given rise to the growth of more information and knowledge resources but these resources do not reach the public. While IT can be used for effective collection, storage and dissemination of information yet most of the public libraries are unable to make use of it. Hence there is a need to modernize the public libraries. Accordingly, National Mission on Libraries decided to develop 35 State Central Libraries, one District Library in each State and one school library in each state as model libraries under NML in phase I. It is envisaged that the networking issue will be resolved with the support of NKN and NIC.

3. Qualitative and Quantitative Survey of Libraries
National Mission on Libraries recommended that a national census of libraries should be conducted by undertaking a nationwide survey. Collection of census data on libraries would provide baseline data for planning. NML has decided to conduct a representative survey (quantitative and qualitative) to understand the perception of the people regarding the services rendered by the libraries and what needs to be done to make public libraries vibrant institutions. A total of 5000 libraries will be surveyed to obtain descriptive statistics. These statistics will facilitate study of the pattern of library usage in terms of average number of readers, number of books issued, other services available, etc. The qualitative survey will study the level of satisfaction of library ‘users’ and ‘non-users’ about the role played by the libraries in terms of their traditional role as readership promoters as well as their new role as service and information providers and the impact of public libraries on the quality of life and economic gains of local people. A suitable questionnaire is being framed to generate data which can also be used to develop quality and performance indicators for the library system.

4. Capacity Building
National Knowledge Commission recommended that the proposed Mission on Libraries must assess as soon as possible the manpower requirements of the country in the area of library and information science management and take necessary steps to meet the country's requirement through Library and Information Science, education and training. Core competencies are necessary for library staff to serve the clientele in the changing scenario of library arena. Adaptable staff will allow libraries to serve this changing needs and expectations of the users. Library can recruit, hire and train library staff to make them responsive to the new and continuously changing library environment to cope with this phenomenon, NML has decided to initiate need-based training programmes for various categories of library professionals working in public and other libraries. These trainings/workshops, through well-designed training programmes (including training of trainers), will contribute towards the capacity building of library and information science professionals. It would also develop managerial skills and IT competencies in existing personnel in public libraries. The capacity building programme will be conducted in collaboration with those 'universities and institutes which are already conducting programmes in Library and Information Sciences.

Tentative Agenda

Timings Topic Panelist
12.15-12.20 pm Chair Prof Deepak Pental
Former Vice Chancellor, University of Delhi
12.20-12.30 pm Panelist 1 Shri B S Baswan
Former Secretary, Higher Education, Ministry of HRD and Chairman Delhi Library Board
12.30-12.40 pm Panelist 2 Dr V Srinivas
Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India
12.40-01.00 pm Open Discussion  
01.00-01.10 pm Summing Up Moderator
01.10-01.15 pm Vote of Thanks TERI