Issues relating to Public libraries in Odisha
Public libraries play a crucial role in development of any society, as it provides a secular platform for informal education, to all and sundry with the facility of learning at the door step. The members of public sit down and discuss the socio-economic, political and cultural issues freely without any barrier of caste, class, sex or age. It is an established fact that if public library facility is available to all the members, the society develops very fast in socio economic and political field, in terms of literacy, culture and employment.
After independence, several states in India enacted public library laws to promote and facilitate growth of libraries and the list of such legislations relating to public libraries is enclosed herewith (Annex-A). The list proves that the sooner the states enacted library laws, the faster is the pace of development. For example, Maharastra, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal were the first few states, which enacted and consolidated the various existing laws relating to public libraries and these are the few states which achieved socio-economic development at a faster rate than the states which delayed enactment of Public library laws.
It is true that Odisha government enacted the Orissa Public Library Act 2001 for establishment of a network of public libraries in the state of Odisha and to maintain regulate, guide, control, supervise, integrate and consolidate the libraries in the state and also to provide for a comprehensive rural and urban library service in the state. The act envisaged creation of library committee at state and district level, consisting of eminent citizens, president or secretary of any library Association, expert in public library, representative of Book publishers and NRIs, for management and development of public library system and library services.
It is a matter of great concern and shame that though 14 years have passed, the requisite rules have not been notified till date. As a result the public library system has not developed in the state, thereby depriving the masses of the facility of informal education and their scope for a socio-economic growth. Besides this, there is a strong racket between officers and the publishers to squander away the library fund, for which Raja Ram Mohun Library Foundation Trust has indicted the state in the past.
It is worthwhile to reiterate the Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” and there is no gainsaying of the fact that public libraries are the institutions which can accomplish the task envisaged in the Chinese proverb. Therefore the demand for the NRIs of Odisha here in USA is:
- To notify the rules relating to public libraries in Odisha within a timeframe of six months
- To incorporate provisions to enable better participation and greater role for the intelligentsia, library management bodies, civil society organisations and NRIs
- To bring transparency in the library fund and provide for disclosure in public and public audit
- To provide for leveraging information technology and easy accessibility to the public
- To provide for setting up libraries at district and Taluka level.
List of legislations on Public Libraries by various states
- i) Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad) Public Libraries Act, 1960;
ii) Arunachal Pradesh Public Libraries Act, 2009;
iii) Bihar Public Libraries Act, 2007;
iv) Chattisgarh Public Libraries Act, 2007;
v) Goa Public Libraries Act, 1993;
vi) Gujarat Public Libraries Act, 2001;
vii) Haryana Public Libraries Act, 1989;
viii) Karnataka (Mysore) Public Libraries Act, 1965;
ix) Kerala Public Libraries Act, 1989;
x) Maharashtra Public Libraries Act, 1967;
xi) Manipur Public Libraries Act, 1988;
xii) Mizoram Public Libraries Act, 1993;
xiii) Orissa Public Libraries Act, 2001;
xiv) Pondichery Public Libraries Act, 2007;
xv) Rajasthan Public Libraries Act, 2006;
xvi) Tamil Nadu (Madras) Public Libraries Act, 1948;
xvii) Uttar Pradesh Public Libraries Act, 2005;
xviii) Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal) Public Libraries Act, 2005 and
xix) West Bengal Public Libraries Act, 1979.
A pdf version of this is here: Issues on Public library