Jammu and Kashmir government is mulling to establish two state-of-the-art smart libraries across the summer capital Srinagar.
The libraries are being established in collaboration between Srinagar Smart City Limited (SSCL) and Department of Libraries & Research (DL&R), J&K.
DDC, Srinagar, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary paid a visit to the SPS Library Srinagar and announced that the two smart libraries would be established in the city—which would boost the book reading culture among youngsters.
Dr Choudhary, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Srinagar Smart City project, said that one library each would be established in "potential and uncovered" South and North city areas of Srinagar to cater to the large population of readers including students, senior citizens, women and children.
He said as a part of the collaboration between SSCL and DL&R, suitable and viable space and funding for the infrastructure would be provided by SSCL while the books and the staff would be arranged for these libraries by DL&R.
Dr Choudhary said the smart libraries concept is a part of the project on how to reposition the public libraries in an environment of new social and technological challenges. "This novel project is aimed at rediscovering how the public and academic libraries move forward and adapt to new technologies, new communities, new user needs and information behaviours," he remarked.
He said these libraries would be different from the traditional public libraries by offering both formal and informal spaces for the readers with a variety of facilities including dedicated areas for students, senior citizens, women and children.
These libraries, he said, will be also provided with WiFi, printing, scanning and photocopy facilities and cafeteria so that interested people can spend time in a leisurely ambience.
"These libraries will also offer study material, both hardcopy and in e-format to the students for competitive examinations like NEET/JEE/CAT/IAS/KAS etc," he said.
Senior officials of the Libraries Department, Kashmir said that several ongoing activities including automation and digitization of rare books and manuscripts, would give a "new face" to department of Libraries in Jammu and Kashmir.
Director Libraries & Research, Muhammad Rafi, said that the department embarked on massive infrastructure upgradation of libraries including automation and digitization.
"The Department has formulated a DPR for Rs 3 crore for construction of Model Library at Baramulla under National Mission on Libraries (NML) while a similar project is under formulation for SRS Library Jammu," the Director told Greater Kashmir.
"We are trying to bring some positive changes to the Libraries across Jammu and Kashmir. The Department is also establishing IT Hubs in SPS Library Srinagar and SRS Library Jammu to facilitate the students."
He said that the Department also plans to introduce the concept of Mobile Libraries in J&K to take the literary mission to the Panchayat-level. The Department has earmarked around Rs 1.50 crore during the current fiscal for construction of new library building at Aishmuqam, Anantnag and upgradation of public libraries at Kulgam, Budgam, Kreeri and Chrar-e-Sharief out of which Rs 70 lakh have been released to the R&B Department for immediate execution of works.
There are at present 71 libraries functional in Kashmir including 3 Central Libraries, 10 District Libraries, 23 Tehsil Libraries, 8 Block Libraries, 20 Border Block Libraries and 7 Shrine Libraries.
Meanwhile the officials have sought suggestions from the citizens on how to make these proposed libraries more attractive and productive. The suggestions, according to officials can be mailed to the District Administration Srinagar at email email@example.com or the Libraries Department (firstname.lastname@example.org).