Friday, February 21, 2014

Development Plans and Resource Mobilisation P- 13. Public Libraries * By :C P Vashishth

इस ब्लॉग्स को सृजन करने में आप सभी से सादर सुझाव आमंत्रित हैं , कृपया अपने सुझाव और प्रविष्टियाँ प्रेषित करे , इसका संपूर्ण कार्य क्षेत्र विश्व ज्ञान समुदाय हैं , जो सभी प्रतियोगियों के कॅरिअर निर्माण महत्त्वपूर्ण योगदान देगा ,आप अपने सुझाव इस मेल पत्ते पर भेज सकते हैं -

Development Plans and Resource Mobilisation

P- 13. Public Libraries *

By :C P Vashishth

1. Introduction

Public libraries are most valuable social assets for any country and are empowering institutions. They are repositories of knowledge and enrich the cultural milieu of the communities they serve. They are pathways to societal development and contribute vitally to nation building and lifelong learning processes. Essentially linked with the education and literacy level, public libraries are a barometer of excellence a country has achieved in these areas. The public library is the most powerful and cost-effective wealth-transfer mechanism ever invented.(
India has an illustrious history and rich legacy of libraries largely patronized by kings and emperors. Nalanda, Taxila, Vikramshila are reported to have excellent libraries in their respective institutions. Mughal kings like Babur, Humayun and Akbar were great patrons of learning and scholarship and established several   libraries equipped with books, rare manuscripts and having magnificent and well maintained buildings. Mughal kings were very particular in appointing scholars to the positions of librarians so that libraries may flourish academically. The Muslim rulers made great contributions to Indian culture and libraries played a significant role in the socio-cultural development of the nation. The period of Mughal is considered as the golden period of Indian history for its educational, literary, and library activities (Khursid, 2004). The arrival of Britishers in 1857 spurred phenomenal changes in the educational landscape of the country and several public libraries came into existence.

Thus it can be observed that in the last 500 years prior to independence of India several public libraries had been established by scholarly inclined individual rulers bereft of any policy formulation. It is a matter of debate if at all these libraries can be defined as public   as most of them were established for the access of chosen few. Nonetheless these initiatives laid the ground work to a considerable extent for proper development of public libraries in independent India.

2. Public Libraries: Developmental Plans

Planning constitutes an integral part of developmental process and public libraries are no exceptions. After its independence on 15th August 1947, India embarked   on the path of planned development and in the process   several important policy formulations came into existence for public libraries. Since  public libraries  require  regular funding for  providing services to the members, adequate plans  have to be made  by government agencies for  their establishment, funding, organizational framework, staffing pattern, collection development policies and  other rules and regulations. Since education in India is   covered in concurrent list, both central and state governments have to plan the development of libraries at their respective levels.

Planning of library services is a continuous systemized process of stating the educational levels, problems of research and the changing requirement in the socio-economic scenario of a country.  It is only on the basis of all that the aims of library service can be prepared considering local needs deciding the right services and preparing the objectives, which will be reached through the rational and reasonable use of available resources.

Since Planning of library services requires professional expertise, it should not be left exclusively to governmental planners. It should be entrusted to senior library professionals, academicians, ordinary citizens, educators, economist, sociologists, etc. who are familiar with aims of the national development plans.

2.1. Planning Methods

A plan document for libraries should have the following components:

1)      Aims, objectives and options
2)      Administrative and financial structure
3)      Legislation
4)      Staff
5)      Organisation of library services
6)      Sources  of funds

One of the key component of planning a public library is   cost of running services. Since libraries are growing organisms, there has to be   regular source of funds  for meeting  expenditure.  Without adequate  government funding, it is quite difficult  to  run a proper public library. Other sources of funds could be  fee charged from members and donations from  philanthropic  organizations.  But there has  to be proper legislation  both at  central and state level  in this regard.

3. Public Libraries in Post Independence Era: Planning and Development

India’s independence in 1947 was a major development for the country and laid the beginning of enactment of new policies in all areas. Being a country where a majority of population was illiterate, it was a big challenge to move on the path of education and role of public libraries in the furtherance of literacy was duly acknowledged in subsequent policy formulations.
Wani (2008) states that the 1951 census, the first conducted after independence, found 2,483 local governments in the urban and rural areas in India of which 320 were rural district boards. Only about one third of local governments maintained public libraries i.e. about 950 in all. These were essentially reading rooms with a few hundred books (Wani, 2008). Both  central and the state governments took a number of steps forward for the development of the nation from the point of education and considered library as essential part of it.  Public libraries  became an integral part of the country’s education budget.
Libraries came to be  justifiably  considered to important for raising literacy level and be an essential part of the Community Development Project that was launched during the first plan period. 

The Connemara Public Library in Madras became the State Central Library in 1950 under the provision of Madras Public Libraries Act 1948, and became one of the three depository libraries in 1955. Delhi Public Library was established in 1951 as the first UNESCO Public Library Pilot Project under the joint auspices of UNESCO and Government of India to adopt “Modern Techniques to Indian Conditions” and to serve as a model public library for Asia. 

Moving  further, in 1954, the Delivery of Book Act was passed . The act obligated every publisher in India to deposit one copy each of its publications to the National Library in Calcutta, the Asiatic Society Library in Bombay, Connemara Public Library in Madras, and Delhi Public Library in New Delhi.

As an important developmental initiative ,the Advisory Committee for Libraries was constituted in 1957 by the Government of India, with K P Sinha as the Chairman. The Committee submitted its report in 1959 with a drafted Model Library Bill. Subsequently the Planning Commission constituted a Working Group on Public Libraries in 1964 and the Commission submitted its report in 1965 with a Model Public Libraries Act. The model bill was sent to all the states/UTs, which did not have Public Libraries Act.

In 1972, the Government of India, Planning Commission constituted Working Group on Development of Public Libraries to make recommendations for library development. Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation, an autonomous body under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Education, was established in 1972. The main objective of the Foundation was to
assist state library services in developmental works.

In 1979, a library section was established in the Department of Culture under the Ministry of Education, which section was under the charge of an Joint Secretary. The objective was to promote the development of public libraries in India.  

As a  planning process , a Working Group on Modernization of Library Services and Informatics was appointed by the Planning Commission in 1983 which  submitted its report in 1984 with the formulation of National Policy on Library Services and Informatics. Delhi Public Library became a copyright library.

The Government of India, Department of Culture, appointed a Committee on National Policy on Library and Information System in 1985. The National Policy on Education, 1986 states that a nationwide movement for improvement of existing libraries and the establishment of new ones will be taken up, provision will be made in all educational institutions for library facilities, and the status of librarianship improved.  The National Book Policy, 1986 also had an impact on libraries due to provisions like  reading material for children by all the agencies involved and  10 percent of the annual education budget of the governments be used to purchase books for libraries.

The establishment of National Literacy Mission in 1986, which emphasized education for women and also establishment of rural libraries was a further fillip to developmental process. Library networks and systems were strengthened at the national level institutions in the development of literature in neoliterates.

Since goals are to be achieved by using formal, non-formal, and open channels of Learning, they had a direct bearing  on public libraries . Rural libraries were to  become the focal point for post-literacy and continuing educational programs. Publishers, voluntary organizations, and school library programs undertaken as part of the “Operation Blackboard Scheme” of the National Education Policy on Education, 1986 were given assistance.

In a significant  planning process ,the following five libraries were designated  as of national importance:
i) National Library, Kolkata established in 1836 in the name of Calcutta Public Library.

ii) Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna was  declared the Library as Institution of National Importance by an act of Parliament in 1969. The Library is now fully funded by the Ministry of Culture (Govt. of India). (

iii) Rampur Raza Library, Rampur, founded by Nawab Faizullah Khan in 1774 AD was taken over  on 1 July 1975 under the Act of Parliament, which declared it as an institution of National importance. (http;//

iv) Thanjavur Maharaja Serfoji's Sarasvati Mahal Library, Thanjavur is one among a few medieval libraries existing in the world.  In 1983, the Library was declared as an Institution of National Importance. (http;//

v) Harekrushna Mahtab State Library, Bhubaneswar was conceived during 1st Five Year Plan under the advice of Government of India and was completed in 1959, In 1987, Government decided to rename the State Library and the Public Library as Harekrushna Mahtab State Library , in memory of Dr. Harekrushna Mahtab, the builder of modern Orissa) and the Bhubaneswar Public Library respectively. (http;//

4. Public Libraries: Planning Models

Libraries are recorded under the Article 246 of Indian Constitution, Seventh Schedule List II of State List No.12 and the Indian Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956, Section 27 reads, “Libraries, museums and other similar institutions controlled or financed by the State; ancient and historical monuments and records other than those to be of national importance”. Provision of public library service is the responsibility of the State Government as the subject matter of libraries is relatable to entry 12 of the State List in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India (Trehan;1986;7).

The UNESCO Public Library Manifesto, 1972 states that, “The public library should be established under the clear mandate of law”, which is substantiated by the IFLA/UNESCO Public Library Manifesto 1994 as; “The public library shall in principle be free of charge. The public library is the responsibility of local and national authorities. It must be supported by specific legislation and financed by national and local government. It has to be an essential component of any long-term strategy for culture, information provision, literacy and education”.

Dr. S R Ranganathan is regarded as the pioneer of library legislation in India. “The concept of legislation for libraries is a contribution of S R Ranganathan to Indian public libraries”. (Sharma; 1976;123).  He consistently  strived a lot for library legislation and prepared different library bills for the Indian Union and constituent states; such as; Model Library Act for constituent states of India (1930); Bengal (1931); Bombay (1946); Central Province and Berar (1946); Old Madras state(1946) which later became Act in 1948; United Province (1947); Cochin (1947);37Travancore (1947); Union Government (1948); Madhya Pradesh (1950); Union andConstituent States (1950); Constituent States (1957); Union (1957); West Bengal(1958); Kerala (1959); Uttar Pradesh (1960); Mysore (1961) which became Act in 1965; Assam (1964); Gujarat (1964 and Model Library Bill (1972).

There have been different efforts to work out library legislation models in India. In the pre-independent and post-independent of India, there have been five models of public library bills suggested by experts and national level professional associations and organizations.

4.1 Model Public Libraries Act of Dr. S R Ranganathan

The first Model Public Libraries Acts was prepared by Dr. S R Ranganathan in 1930 and revised in 1957 and 1972. Salient features of final version are:

  • Establishment of public libraries in city, rural and other areas;
  • Constitution of State Library Authority i.e. Minister of Education;
  • Constitution of State Library Committee as an advisory body of the State Library Authority;
  • Constitution of Local Library Authority for each city and one for each district;
  • State Library Authority, Government and Local Library Authority may determine
  • Library rate in such a manner and may determine collection of library cess from time to time.

4.2 Model Public Libraries Bill of Ministry of Education

The Government of India, Ministry of Education appointed an Advisory Committee for Libraries in 1957, under the Chairmanship of Shri K P Sinha, former Director of Public Instruction, Bihar. This committee recommended the need for library legislation for each state. As a follow-up action of the Advisory Committee, the Ministry of Education, Government of India appointed a committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. M D Sen. The Committee drafted Model Public Libraries Bill in the year 1963. The salient components of this Bill are:

  • Constitution of State Library Authority as an apex body to advise the
  • Government in the matter of library developments;
  • Constitution of State Library Directorate for direction and controlling of library services;
  • Constitution of District Library Committee in each district;
  • Treatment of employees as government servant;
  • Collection of library cess at the rate of 6 paise per rupee on house tax and property tax.

4.3 Model Public Libraries Bill of the Planning Commission

The Planning Commission, Government of India, constituted a ‘Working Group on Libraries’ in 1964 to plan and advice on the development of Libraries during the Fourth Five Year Plan. The Working Group recommended a Library Development Scheme to be implemented during the Fourth Plan period with a financial commitment of Rs.309 million, which was appended by Model Public Libraries Bill and submitted its report in 1965. Bill was not considered even by a single state. The Bill included the following features:

  • Establish, maintain, develop and integrated adequate public library service in the state;
  • Constitution of Committee of Experts to prescribe the standards of service;
  • Constitution of State Library Council to advise the government for the promotion and development of library service;
  • Establishment of State Library Directorate to control, direct and supervise library system in the state;
  • Establishment of State Central Library, State Regional Libraries and District Libraries;
  • Treatment of employees in the system of State Government Servants
  • Government shall be the financial source and shall maintain the public library system in the state.

4.4 Model Public Libraries Bill of Indian Library Association

The Indian Library Association (ILA) formed in 1933, has keen interest in library legislation. The ILA discussed library legislation at its various seminars organized in 1964, 1978 and 1981. Consequently, ILA Council at its meeting held on 23 June 1989, keeping in view of the developments and experiences gain from the existing Acts, resolved to prepare a Model Library Bill. Accordingly, as asked by ILA, Dr. Velaga Venkatappaiah, Chairman, Central Sectional Committee on Public Libraries of the ILA prepared a Model Public Library Bill. ILA accepted the draft Bill with minor changes at its National Seminar on Public Library Legislation in 1990 at the final product of the Model Public Libraries Bill was published in 1991. The Bill was circulated to all the states and union territories but few states reacted favorably to the Bill. This Model Bill was again discussed in a National Seminar on Library Legislation and revised as the Model State Public Library and Information Service Act in 1995. In view of emergence of Information Technology at all levels, the model act was again revised in 2000. The important components of this Bill are:

  • State Library and Information Service, based on a State Policy;
  • Constitution of State Library Authority at the apex level with Minister of Libraries as Chairman as policy making and executive body;
  • Establishment of Directorate of Public Libraries for directing, controlling and supervising;
  • Constitution of City, District Library Authority for rendering service from district to village level;
  • Provision for network of Public Library and Information Services from state to village level;
  • Constitution of State Library and Information Service;
  • Collection of Library cess on house tax and property tax, entertainment tax, professional tax, vehicle tax, etc.;
  • Constitution of State Boards for education, book production, co-ordination, etc.;
  • Accountability of public expenditure and services.

4.5 Model Union Library Act

The Government of India appointed a committee to explore the possibilities to establish a National Central Library at New Delhi in 1948. Dr. S R Ranganathan, a member of the committee drafted a Library Development plan in 1950 with a 30-year programme and a draft Library Bill for the states and Union Public Library Act. This was revised in 1959 and again in 1972. However, libraries falls under the state list of the constitution and it may not be possible to pass Bill as a Union Act, unless and until the constitution is suitably amended for this purpose. The main features of this model Act are:

  • Constitution of a National Library Authority;
  • Establishment of national central libraries;
  • Constitution of National Library Committee as an advisory body
  • to the National library Authority;
  • Constitution of National library fund;
  • Amendment to the delivery of Books and Newspaper Act, 1954.

5. Public Libraries: Through Five Year Plans

India’s developmental process takes place through five year plans and in every plan provisions have been made for their development summarized below:

5.1 First Five Year Plan, 1951–1956

The first five year plan for educational development included a proposal for improvement of library services Rs. 5 million (US$1.05 million) was set aside for establishment of the national central library, but this sum was not used.Improvement of library services was mentioned in this plan for educational development. The essence of the scheme was to establish district libraries in each state, which were to be supplemented by a state central library. The government of India also initiated a scheme, “Integrated Library Service,” with the support of the state government. The scheme targeted units in every area selected by the governments for intensive educational development. The experimental project was meant to monitor the impact of a number of educational institutions in areas covering 100 villages. Each area was to have five model community centers, plus a main library with branches to distribute books to 20 villages. This pilot project was implemented in 29 areas in the country. Nine states made plans to open state central libraries, and some others were in the process of setting up district libraries in about 100 districts. This cost approximately Rs. 10 million (US$2.1 million), of which nearly two–thirds was contributed by the government of India. Thus, libraries were considered to be an essential part of the Community Development Program that was launched during the first plan period (Naidu, 1990).

In 1954, the Delivery of Books Act was passed (it was amended in 1956) to include newspapers. The act obligated every publisher in India to deposit a copy of its publication with the National Library in Calcutta; the Asiatic Society Central Library, Bombay; Connemara Public Library, Madras; and the Delhi Public Library. On the basis of books received under this act, India has a national bibliography which is published by the Central Reference Library, Calcutta. The bibliography, however, does not include textbooks, musical scores, maps, and atlases (Venkatachari, 1981).

5.2 Second Five Year Plan, 1956–1961

The second five year plan contained the same provisions as the first plan, plus additional provisions for establishing integrated library service. The library services were to be organized on the basis of legislation and district libraries were to form the link between the state central library and village libraries. As a result, nine states in India established state central libraries and 254 district libraries. But the national central library was still not established. In 1960, the state of Andhra Pradesh enacted library legislation.

During this plan period, a total of Rs. 2.040 billion was spent on educational development, of which Rs. 9 million was spent on library development. Even though Rs. 18.6 million was provided, the state’s only used 48.6 percent of this amount. Thus, the number of libraries nearly doubled in 1964 as compared to 1951, and the expenditure on public libraries in this period increased three–fold. According to a UNESCO report published on the occasion of the Public Library Seminar held at Delhi in 1955, India had 24,086 public library service points at the time. The level of literacy in 1961 increased to 28.31 percent(India, Planning Commission, 1980).

5.3 Third Five Year Plan, 1962–1967

The amount of Rs. 5.6 billion was budgeted for education in this plan period, but the amount to be spent on libraries was not clearly indicated in the plan. Of this amount, Rs. 620 million was expected to be available for social education. During this plan period, the system of central government assistance to the states was changed, and funding for libraries was kept to a bare minimum. Thus, it was up to the individual states to take the initiative and develop their public libraries. With the beginning of this plan period, the scheme to assist state governments in establishing state central libraries, district central libraries, and block development libraries was abandoned. The central government decided to let the states decide on the development; the decision was a major setback that hindered the development of public libraries.
During this plan period, four national libraries were to be established at Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras. District–level libraries were to be established in all the states. A sum of Rs. 32.3 million was made available to the states for this purpose.
In 1962 the central government sent a model Public Libraries Bill to those state governments which had not adopted any library legislation, hoping to persuade these states to show an interest in passing the legislation. A Working Group on Libraries was appointed by the Planning Commission in 1964. Group recommendations included:
  1. By the end of the Fifth Five Year Plan, set up libraries at block headquarters and in every village having a population of 5,000;
  2. Encourage the Program of Adult Education to use the services of the public libraries to eradicate illiteracy.
As of January 1, 1965, according to the information received from the states by the Working Group:
  1. Twelve of 18 states/UT had state central libraries;
  2. 205 of 327 districts had district central libraries;
  3. 1,394 blocks of 5,223 had block (sub–district) development libraries;
  4. 28,317 villages out of 566,878 had village libraries.
Library legislation was passed in two states during this period: Karnataka in 1965 and Maharashtra in 1967(India, Planning Commission, 1980).

5.4 Fourth Five Year Plan, 1969–1974;

The education budget was estimated at Rs. 7.120 billion (US$949.3 million), of which the social education component was Rs. 100 million (US$13.3 million). Thus, the tempo that had built for the development of library services slowed. However, Rs. 130 million (US$17.3 million) was provided in this plan period for provision of information services, which included information centers, radio transmitters, film production, mobile cine vans, and other media. The literacy level rose to 34.45 percent in 1971.
In 1972, the Working Group on Development of Public Libraries was constituted by the Government of India Planning Commission to make recommendations for library development. These recommendations were to be included in the Fifth Five Year Plan. The group submitted detailed proposals for:
  1. Allotment of Rs. 310 million  for the development of public libraries; but the amount actually provided was a meager Rs. 20 million (US$2.66 million);
  2. A network of libraries to cover the whole country, and other recommendations similar to those made earlier by the Advisory Committee (India, Planning Commission, 1980).
Figures provided in 1973 (Kalia, 1974) concerned the number of public libraries, and read as follows:
  1. Fifteen of 21 states/UT had state central libraries;
  2. 235 of 376 districts had district central libraries;
  3. 1,500 of 3,100 sub–districts had sub–district central libraries;
  4. 50,000 villages of 566,878 had village libraries;
  5. 1,800 of 2,641 towns had town libraries.
As described above, in 1972, during this plan period, the central government established the Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library Foundation(India, Planning Commission, 1980).

5.5 Fifth Five Year Plan, 1974–1979

In this plan, steps were taken to strengthen not only the village and block libraries, but also the central and state libraries, and the district libraries. The states were assisted by the Raja RamMohan Roy Library Foundation, which was established in 1972. During this plan period, the amount of Rs. 15.620 billion was allocated for general education, and Rs. 350 million was budgeted for social education (India, Planning Commission, 1980).

The only state that enacted a public library law during this plan period was West Bengal, in 1979. In 1978, the government adopted the National Adult Education Program, but it did not recognize the public library as an agency that could be assigned a role in solving the literacy problem. Rather, the public library was relegated to the role of post–literacy work. This view was also promulgated by the Draft National Policy on Education (NPE), 1979. However, the need for the rural public library system to play a role in continuing education in the villages and rural areas was recognized (Draft NPE, 1979).

In 1979, the Ministry of Education in the Department of Culture established a library section under the charge of an under secretary. The goal: to promote development of public libraries in India. Since then, libraries have not been part of the social education budget. Instead, they have been included in the art and culture component of the budget.

5.6 Sixth Five Year Plan, 1980–1985

Sixth five yearplan emphasized minimum essential education of all adults, to be achieved by inter–sectoral cooperation and inter&150; agency coordination. These efforts were to be supported by post–literacy, continuing education through a network of rural libraries as well as instructional programs conducted through mass communication media. The amount allocated for general education was Rs. 21.622 billion (US$2.749 billion). The art and culture component was Rs. 839 million.
During this period (1982 figures):
  1. Twenty–six states/UT out of 31 existing in 1982 had established/designated state central libraries;
  2. Out of 401 districts, 291 had district central libraries;
  3. Out of 5,027 blocks, 1,798 development blocks had block libraries;
  4. Out of 575,936 villages, 41,828 had village libraries;
  5. Out of 2,643 towns, 1,280 had town libraries.

Of the 29 metropolitan cities with a population of 400,000 and above, only four — Madras, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Delhi — have city public library systems with central libraries, branches, and deposit stations. Thus, it is estimated that approximately 20 percent of the literate population has access to public library service (Agrawal, 1985).

A Working Group on Modernization of Library Services and Informatics in the Seventh Plan was appointed by the Planning Commission in 1983. In its 1984 report, the group recommended formulation of a National Policy on Library Services and Informatics in support of similar recommendations made earlier by other committees.

From its establishment in 1972, to 1982, the Raja RamMohan Roy Foundation provided funds of Rs. 250 million (US$31.79 million) to assist 15,000 rural libraries. In 1982, the Delhi Public Library became a copyright library. The level of literacy increased to 43.56 percent in 1981.

5.7 Seventh Five year Plan, 1985–1990

During this plan period, the Planning Commission’s objective was to address the needs of 90 million people, ages 15–35, in the Adult Education Program. The network of libraries was to play a role in the development of literature for neoliterates. Library systems were to be strengthened with specific attention given to improvement of facilities at the national–level institutions. The general education budget was Rs. 47,753 million (US$3.860 million); Rs. 4.821 billion (US$389.8 million) constituted the art and culture component (Seventh Five Year Plan, 1985).
An important development during this period was the 1986 adoption of the National Literacy Mission, which emphasized the education of women and also the establishment of rural libraries.
In 1989, there were 7,180 main libraries and 18,000 service points (branches, mobile stops, etc.) (Mangla, 1993). The collections of the National Library of Calcutta were increased significantly. The Central Secretariat Library started creating a database on the epic “Mahabharata.” The Raja RamMohan Roy Foundation set up an “Integrated Research Cell–cum–Computer Unit” for promoting research in librarianship, and also started a database of public libraries in the country. A Committee on National Policy on Library and Information System was appointed in 1985 by the Government of India, Department of Culture. The resulting final report (based on two drafts previously submitted by the Raja RamMohan Roy Library Foundation and the Indian Library Association) was submitted in 1986 (Barua, 1992).
This policy stressed the need to establish strong links between a village’s community library and primary school. If the school lacked a library, the community library was to provide the children with adequate resources. Furthermore, a children’s section was to be organized in every public library (Biswas, 1988).
The National Policy on Education–1986 barely mentions libraries. It states that a nationwide movement for improvement of existing libraries and the establishment of new ones will be taken up, provision will be made in all educational institutions for library facilities, and the status of librarians improved. The school library program, “Operation Blackboard,” was initiated with the provision of essential teaching and learning materials. The National Book Policy–1986 also had an impact on libraries, as it recommended:
  1. Provision of reading material for children by all the agencies involved;
  2. That 10 percent of the annual education budget of the governments be used to purchase books for libraries.
During this plan period, these states passed library acts: Manipur in 1988, Assam in 1989, Haryana in 1989, and Kerala in 1989.

5.8 National Policy on Library & Information System (NAPLIS)

During seventh five year plan, in 1985, a committee was set up under the chairmanship of Prof. D.P. Chattopadhyay to formulate a National Policy on Library & Information System (NAPLIS) (Chatoopadhyay, 1998). The Committee submitted its report in May 1986. Following that, another committee looked at implications of the report and created an action plan for its implementation (Bhatacharjee, 1999). The Empowerment Committee submitted its report in April 1988 and an Implementation Cell was formed to implement its recommendations within a period of six months. Yet another Working Group, under the Joint Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Culture, was constituted to examine its recommendations for implementation. The Working Group submitted its report in July 1993 and suggested implementing only 29 of 60 recommendations made by the NAPLIS,India (Ministry of Human Resources Development,1986).

The following are some of the recommendations of NAPLIS related to public libraries:
  • Proposals for maintenance and development of public libraries should preferably come from State Legislative Enactment. The Central Government may revise the Model Public Library Bill.Funds for library development should come from each state, either from general revenue or from local taxation. Central Government agencies may provide funds under Plan Expenditure.
  • Efforts should emphasize rural public libraries. A village or a cluster of villages with an adequate population should have a community library/rural community centre, which will also serve as an information centre. Resources from various agencies engaged in the public   health, adult education, State and central government, etc., should be used to build up and maintain this centre.
  • The central government increases its assistance to state governments in the development of public libraries. The RRRLF, as the national agency for coordinating and assisting the development of public libraries, should be suitably strengthened in order to do this.
  • Standards and guidelines for library service should be created.
  • There should be a system of national libraries consisting of National Library, Calcutta (Now Kolkata) as the National Library of India, National Depository libraries in Delhi, Bombay (Now   Mumbai), Madras (now Chennai), National Subject Libraries, and others. These national libraries should form part of one integrated system.
  • A National Commission on Libraries and Information System or National Commission on Informatics and Documentation may be constituted by an Act of Parliament to serve under the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The    Commission will have representation from appropriate central and state agencies and could provide guidance and coordinate library development programmes in all sectors. This body will have the primary responsibility for the implementation of NAPLIS programmes.
  • National Depository libraries; Connemara Public library, Chennai; Central Library  (Asiatic Society), Bombay; and Delhi Public Library, Delhi should concentrate on development of collections and preservation of Indian culture produced in the languages of their regions, supplementing and complementing the efforts of the Indian National Library.
  • The Indian National Bibliography should have a comprehensive coverage of the national output of documents and should be updated regularly. This responsibility should be vested in the National Library.
  • Government should create a national awareness of the need to preserve the nation's cultural heritage. National libraries should be responsible, with preservation facilities   created there. Links between libraries, archives, and museums should be established for the purpose of national preservation.
  • The Ministry of Rural Development has a plan for one community centre in every Panchayat Centre. The Department of Culture and the Ministry of Rural Development have agreed to provide library services at each of these Rural Community Centres.
  • An important link should be established between community centre library and primary schools. If the schools do not have libraries of their own, the community centre library should provide children with adequate services.
  • A community centre library should have an important role in adult education  programmes.
  • A district library should provide facilities and recreation for the disabled and low-income people, e.g., literature in Braille.
  • Libraries should be built in areas of tribal concentration and in minority communities  to help in developing and sustaining their distinctive cultures.
  • Libraries should be equipped with relevant resources, such as publications covering Open University and vocational educational courses, for their role in support of distance education.
  • All public libraries within a state should form a part of a network extending from village library   through community centre library, district library, and state network, and should be linked to the national information grid (Sahib, 2003).

5.9 Eighth Five Year Plan, 1992–1997

The money allocated for this period for general education is Rs. 168.133 billion; for art and culture, Rs. 7.276 billion has been allocated. Universalization of elementary education, eradication of illiteracy in the 15–35–year age group, and strengthening of vocational education in relation to emerging needs in urban and rural settings are the major thrusts of the plan. These goals are to be achieved by using formal, non–formal, and open channels of learning. The plan states that in those states with an advanced library system, rural libraries should become the focal points for post–literacy and continuing education programs.
Book promotion is also emphasized in this plan, to be promoted by the organization of a National Center for Children’s Literature, which should produce 3,000 titles annually. Important books are to be translated into the various Indian languages, and books for neoliterates published. Publishers and voluntary agencies will be given assistance, and the school library program, undertaken as part of the “Operation Blackboard” scheme of the National Policy on Education — 1986, will continue.
Public libraries of national importance are to be provided funds for improvements/innovations such as the following:
  1. The Khuda Bakst Public Library proposed establishment of an Institute of Oriental Studies and open regional units for research on Indo–Islamic and comparative religion;
  2. The Rampur Raza Library would acquire sophisticated equipment for preservation of its collections;
  3. The Asiatic Society, Calcutta, is to open an art gallery, introduce a desktop publishing system, and construct a new building;
  4. The National Library proposed making microfilms available, producing a national union catalogue, and providing book production statistics;
  5. The Central Reference Library is to be reorganized into a National Bibliographical and Documentation Center with a computer center; and,
  6. The Delhi Public Library is to open two new libraries within its service area.
The Raja Ram Mohan Roy Foundation proposes assisting state central libraries in their quest to obtain reprographic equipment. The Foundation also hopes to assist certain libraries in the processing of rare books, and to provide assistance to rural libraries, and to those public libraries that have completed 100 years of service (Eighth Plan, 1992).
The Model Public Libraries Act is based on the national seminar on this subject, which was held February 14, 1990, in New Delhi. The seminar was organized by the Indian Library Association in collaboration with the Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library Foundation. This excellent document encompasses all aspects of legislation important to the establishment of public libraries (Venkatappaiah, 1990).
The National Cultural Policy 1993 is the new policy designed by the Government of India. It was created by merging the National Policy of Library and Information Science, the National Book Policy, and other related policies dealt with by the Department of Culture of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
The latest estimate of the number of public libraries in India is 44,205 (Ramaiah, 1993). The financial outlays in each plan have increased, too, as illustrated by the graphic table presented.

5.10 Ninth Five Year Plan, 1997–2002

The Ninth Plan treats education as the most crucial investment in human development. The Prime Minister’s Special Action Plan (SAP) has identified the expansion and improvement of social infrastructure in education as a critical area.
To have a forward linkage with the National Literacy Mission, it is imperative that we increase the spread of our public libraries to new areas in rural regions of the country. A scheme for assisting and establishing libraries at Panchayat level is proposed in 9th Plan with initial coverage of the North-East region, as they already have a tradition of village libraries. Later on, the scheme will be spread to other parts of the country. In addition the emphasis will also be on old libraries with rare manuscripts such as Khuda Bakst Oriental Public Library, Patna and Thanjavur Saraswati Mahal Library, Thanjavur.
To keep pace with the latest in Information Technology the facilities in public libraries will be upgraded and latest equipment provided. A networking of Central and State libraries is also planned.
For the optimum utilisation of available resources in the computer and communication technology more effectively, a proper networking of all libraries and resource centres will be given due emphasis. For this purpose, the development of a national network of libraries is envisaged.
During the 9th five year plan, the National Library, Kolkata undertook several major initiatives to upgrade and modernize its collection building programme. Funds for modernization and computerization were provided from central grants to Connemara Library, Chennai, Thanjavur Saraswati Mahal Library, and the State Central Library, Mumbai

5.11 Tenth Five Year Plan, 2002 -2007

The Planning Commission proposed further modernization of central and public libraries during the Tenth Plan. A national bibliographic database would be developed to encourage resource sharing, networking, and to improve reader services. The Commission resolved to strengthen public library infrastructure through the RRRLF. The Tenth Plan focused on upgrading existing libraries, including private collections, and widening the programme for bibliographic control and documentation. To make readers services more comprehensive and effective, the National Library is expected to act as the ultimate referral centre for various subjects. To keep pace with the latest developments in information technology in public libraries, the upgrading and networking of central and state libraries was also planned (Planning Commission India, 2002).

The National Archives of India (NAI) has been the custodian of Central Government records of enduring value for permanent preservation and use by administrators and scholars. Preservation and conservation of rare books and other documents is one of the chief activities of the National Library and Central Reference Library (Kolkata), Central Secretariat Library and Delhi Public Library (New Delhi), State Central Library (Mumbai), Thanjavur Maharaja Serofji Saraswati Mahal Library (TMSSML) (Thanjavur) and Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library Foundation (Kolkata), which are engaged in digitization of old books and manuscripts and retro-conservation of catalogues. Developing a National Bibliographic Database in electronic format to encourage resource sharing, networking and to improve reader services is the hallmark of modernization activities in the library sector.

It was during the Tenth Plan that attention was drawn towards the manuscript wealth of the country and on the need for special attention on their conservation and upkeep. The National Mission for Manuscripts was launched for inventorization and protection of Indian manuscripts. The mission has taken up the task of compiling a national database of manuscripts (being made available online) by initiating a national survey of about 2 million manuscripts. More importantly, 45 most unique manuscripts recording India’s achievements in science, philosophy, scripture, history, and the arts have been selected by a committee of selectors as national treasure. Software has been prepared by NIC in Visual Basic Net for cataloguing of manuscripts. About 2 lakh illustrated manuscripts have been digitized. Out of the Tenth Plan outlay of Rs 131.05 crore, an expenditure of Rs 121.76 crore was incurred, which indicates a shortfall of 7.1% (India, Planning Commission, 2002).

5.12 Eleventh Five Year Plan, 2007-2012

The development of Public Libraries in the Eleventh Plan includes Rural Public Libraries and provision for handicapped and under-privileged in District Libraries. A National Library Mission was proposed to be set up.

6.Public Libraries: Planning at State Level and Library Legislation

Since India is a federal country where domains of states and central government are clearly demarcated, the schemes launched by central government do not necessarily in every case percolate down to state level. Libraries being state subject, state governments are free to formulate their own policies. Accordingly it is important to understand   the developmental initiatives taken by different states of India so as to have a nation wide understanding of issues.
The developmental process of libraries at state level takes place in the framework of   a legislation aiming atgiving legal provision for establishing a library system, its maintenance, services, functions, right and management under any state or a national government. Library legislation is capable of regulating various organs of public library services. It is an instrument for the development of public libraries in a planned manner to ensure establishment, development and maintenance of libraries in a uniform pattern. It can help in promoting a sense of self consciousness among the people who would feel it obligatory on their part to use services offered by the library.

7. Library Legislation in India

In ancient India learning was confined to chosen few and upper strata of society and as a result in ancient India there was no tradition of public library legislation.
a) Before Independence: Pre independence India shows some of the significant steps in implementing the library legislation, which can be summarized as follows
i) The Press and Registration of Books Act (1867): The Press and Registration of Books Act was passed in 1867 for the British India. This Act was for the regulation of printing-presses and newspapers for the preservation of copies of books and newspapers printed in India and for the registration of such books and newspapers. It helped some specific libraries to get some copies of books free of cost and to maintain a continuous catalogue of early printed books in the country. In terms of this Act the publisher or the printer of every book or newspaper was to send a copy of the book or newspaper to the Secretary of state for India, another copy to the Governor General in Council and still another to the local government.
ii) Funds for the encouragement of literature (1898);
iii) Imperial Library Act (1902);
iv) Model Library Act (1930).
Dr. S. R. Ranganathan drafted a “Model Library Act”, which was presented at the All Asia Educational Conference held at Banaras in 1930. In 1942 on the request of ILA, Dr. S. R. Ranganathan drafted another bill called ‘The Model Public Library Bill’.
b) After Independence: The major steps in implementing library legislation in the post independence era are as follows
i) Imperial Library Act (1948): In 1948, the Government of India passed the Imperial Library (change of name) Act. By this act the Imperial Library of Calcutta (Kolkata) became the National Library (of India).
ii) Delivery of Books (Public Libraries Act) 1954: In 1954 Indian parliament passed Delivery of Books and Newspaper Act which was further amended as the Delivery of Books and Newspaper (Public Libraries) Amendment Act 1956 to include serials as well.
iii) Model Library Act / Bill (1963): A library bill was also drafted in 1963 by a committee under the chairmanship of Dr. D. M. Sen. Then in 1972 revision was made to the model library act of 1930. Another model public libraries bill was prepared by the library legislation subcommittee of the Planning Commission in 1966.
c) Present Status of Library Legislation in India: The credit of enacting a library act for the first time in India goes to the Kolhapur princely state of the present Maharashtra in 1945.Currently there are twenty –eight states and seven union territories in India having their own structure, pattern and funding system of public libraries. Out of these thirty five states and union territories, nineteen states have so far enacted library legislation and the rest are providing library services without legislation. The list of the nineteen Acts is given below
i) Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad) Public Libraries Act, 1960;
ii) Arunachal Pradesh Public Libraries Act, 2009;
iii) Bihar Public Libraries Act, 2007;
iv) Chhattisgarh 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;
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.

8. National Mission on Libraries

One of the most  groundbreaking  development having long term implications towards the development of  public libraries in the country  has been the setting up of  National  Mission on Libraries under the chairmanship of  Prof. Deepak Pental, former Vice-Chancellor of University of Delhi.

The National Mission on Libraries is an important and empowered institution set up by government of India and has the capacity and potential to transform the limited landscape of public libraries’ growth in the country which despite several initiatives   has failed to establish any mark. There is acute shortage of public libraries in the country and their current strength is negligible given the size and population of the country. Most of the public libraries we once had have long fallen into disrepair — books unreturned, buildings in a ramshackle state and no provision of regular funds.

If funded properly and utilised rationally, the mission can play crucial role in retrieving the situation and develop public libraries to some extent at least.

9. Public Libraries: Resource Mobilisation

Public libraries play a vital role in disseminating existing knowledge and promote the creation of new knowledge; but this very important public library system in India has almost become “defunct” and lost its erstwhile glory. There are many reasons attributed to this stagnation; the foremost being lack of adequate funds and support from the Government.  Although there are various acts, policies and institutions for the promotion of public libraries, they are in an “irreversible state”.  What is most unfortunate is despite legislation in majority of the states, Library cess was not being spent on improving libraries by the local bodies, even though it was being collected from the public, the present public library system needs a total revival and transformation for which we need to adopt a different approach and resources to “bridge” this gap. The cost of printed matter such as books and magazines has risen over time, while funding has remained static or declined The cost of creating, maintaining, and upgrading electronic hardware, networks, and resources has further put a strain on many library budgets.

Vaidyanathan has placed the challenge before public libraries beautifully in the context when he states that “despite Internet, the experience of being in a public library is irreplaceable. The hushed reading rooms that feel cool even on a hot day, the murmuring quiet broken only by occasional whispering, and browsers lost in dark book stacks. Can we, as a community of book lovers across the country, raise consciousness about the importance of public libraries and restore them to the great places of learning and entertainment they once were”?

National Knowledge Commission has created awareness as well as a debate among the scholars and planners on how India can move towards a knowledge society. A recent book provides some kind of a ‘roadmap’ towards achieving overall socio-economic development of communities through corporate support   by creating or improving Public Libraries in and around the industries. If extended to public libraries, the concept of CSR can help public libraries to stand on their feet. “Just like corporations adopting villages and schools, they can also adopt local public libraries and serve the community at large. CSR mainly focuses on grassroots approach through public-private partnerships for a sustainable development”. It is felt that Public libraries, if any are given the required inputs, resources and infrastructure, can become useful in helping the country to become a Knowledge Society.

10. Conclusion

There is large scale absence of public libraries in our country. There is absolute lack of large scale and long term sustained planning. The availability of government funds is highly inadequate and not regular.  What is needed is a strong advocacy on the part people of learned societies of the country to put pressure for strong and urgent steps. The voluntary organisations working in the field of education, literacy and social empowerment must launch a massive campaign for larger government spending and mobilization of special funds through special cess and duties. Public libraries are social institutions and produce informed public opinion which is a major requisite for a working democracy.

1.2.1 Did You Know?


Public libraries play a vital role in dissemination existing knowledge and promote the creation of new knowledge. Public libraries are social institutions and produce informed public opinion which is a major requisite for a working democracy.
 Alternate Text

Delhi Public Library was established in 1951 as the first UNESCO Public Library Pilot Project under the joint auspices of UNESCO and Government of India to adopt “Modern Techniques to Indian Conditions” and to serve as a model public library for Asia. 

Alternate Text

1.2.2 Interesting Facts

Interesting Facts

Delhi Public Library was established in 1951 as a pilot project sponsored by UNESCO and the Government of India
During seventh five year plan, in 1985, a committee was set up under the chairmanship of Prof. D.P. Chattopadhyay to formulate a National Policy on Library & Information System (NAPLIS)
Delivery of Book Act was passed in 1954 by Indian Parliament

National Knowledge Commission set up in 2005 by the Prime Minister

In India Nineteen States have so far enacted Library legislations

1.2.4 Web links


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Biswas, S. C. (1988). Seminar on Public Library Services and Information Networks. Madras: Madras Library Association.
Chattopadhyay, Anjana (2001). Bihar and Jharkand: In Library and Information Services in Indian States and Union Territories edited by P. B. Mangla. New Delhi: Shipra.
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Patel, Jashu&Krishan Kumar (2004). Libraries and Librarianship in India. Westport: Greenwood Press.
Ramaiah, L. S. (1993). Public Libraries and Public Finances in India: A Critical Perspective. Herald of Library Science, 32(3-4), 171-177.
Sharma, Pandey S.K. (1996). Public Libraries in India; Trends and Status. In. Public Libraries in developing Countries: Status and Trends edited by P K Mahapatra and V K Thomas. New Delhi: Vikas.
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Trehan, G.L. (1986). Main Problems of Library Legislation in India. In. Library Legislation in India edited by R K Rout. New Delhi: Reliance.
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Venkatappaiah, V. (1990). National seminar on Model Public Libraries Act. Delhi: Cambridge Press.
Wani& Ashraf, Zahid (2008). Development of Public libraries in India: Library Philosophy and Practice. New Delhi.

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