Srinagar: In a significant decision aimed at transforming the Public Libraries in J&K by leveraging technology, Lt Governor, Shri Manoj Sinha today gave the go-ahead to the Department of Libraries and Research to modernize its Public Libraries in the UT with requisite IT infrastructure and reinvent these vital institutions as productive e-Learning-cum-Career Counselling Centres for youth.
Chairing a review meeting of the Department of Culture here this afternoon, the Lt Governor said that this novel initiative can be achieved by pooling resources from Mission Youth, J&K and the Smart City Mission to establish the requisite infrastructure in the existing network of around 130 public libraries in J&K.
He said this technological intervention would help build a collaborative and futuristic digital library system in the UT and unlock wide-ranging resources in traditional public libraries for a new generation of learners and start-ups, enabling free, long-term, public access to the knowledge and skills.
Pertinently, as a part of this initiative, the Department of Libraries has, in convergence with Jammu Smart City Ltd (JSCL), already started extensive upgradation of SRS Central Library Jammu to transform it into a full-fledged Digital Library with best possible technological facilities.
The key components of the Rs 4.30 crores, SRS Library Jammu upgradation project include setting up of IT Hub with a dedicated Server and Nodes, CCTV Surveillance System, Access Control System, RFID Tagging of Books and Access, installation of 150 KVA Genset, Air-Conditioning System, Fire Protection System, Furniture, Reading Lamps, Water Dispensers with RO Connection, Softscaping, Bookshelves, Toilet Block, Cafeteria, Screenwalls, Vertical Garden etc.
A similar proposal has been sent by the Libraries Department to the Srinagar Smart City Ltd (SSCL) for upgradation of SPS Library Srinagar as a Digital Library which is witnessing a huge foot-fall of keen readers, especially youth in its Reading Rooms.
This pioneering partnership for technological transformation of public libraries in J&K would go a long way towards broadening and extending access to the vast sources of knowledge available in these repositories. The Department has a repository of around 13 lakh books including some rare books in its libraries in addition to around 6000 manuscripts.
In order to extend the Digital Libraries network across UT, the Department of Libraries, will work on a separate project, in convergence with Mission Youth, J&K for digital transformation of its existing set-up of District Libraries so that this cutting-edge initiative is taken to the grassroots level. Once the requisite IT infrastructure is in place, these libraries would be linked with digital libraries across the country and the globe including the National Digital Library of India (NDLI) to facilitate access of the users, especially the students, to around 3.5 crore academic resources including e-books, audio-books, lecture materials, thesis, reports, articles, journals, question papers etc.
These Libraries will also make available quality free study and reference material, both hardcopy and in e-format to the students to help them prepare for competitive examinations like NEET/JEE/CAT/IAS/JKAS etc.
The Digital 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 libraries move forward and adapt to new technologies, new communities, new user-needs and information behaviours.