Mass Education Extension & Library Services Department
Government of West Bengal

Vision

BACKGROUND

Under the Department of Mass Education Extension & Library Services, Govt. of West Bengal, there is a strong network of Public Library System of 2480 Public Libraries under Directorate of Library Services, comprising of 13 Government Libraries, 2460 Govt. Sponsored Public Libraries and 7 Govt. Aided Libraries run by voluntary organizations.

The Govt. Libraries have the State Central Library at the apex of the Public Library System in the State. Besides, there are 7 District Libraries, 4 Town / Sub-divisional libraries and 1 library of special status, namely Uttarpara Joykrishna Public Library.

In addition, there are 2460 Govt. Sponsored Public libraries which include 19 District Libraries, 232 Town / Sub-divisional Libraries, 2209 Primary Unit / Rural / Area Libraries, having sanctioned strength of 5900 employees, with total no. of books at nearly 1.80 crore and the total no. of members enrolled at nearly 31 lakhs (as stood on 31.03.2015).

OBJECTIVE

To revamp the existing Public Library System in West Bengal, keeping in mind the user need and aspiration of the 21st century, so that public library services reach every doorstep of the State.

SWOT Analysis

STRENGTH
  • a. Huge infrastructural network of 2480 libraries upto the rural area, with 5900 sanctioned posts of employees.
  • b. Huge no. of books are lying in the libraries; nearly 1.80 crore (as stood on 31.03.2015)
WEAKNESS
  • a. Infrastructure of all the libraries are not upto the mark according to the need and aspiration of the 21st century
  • b. Huge no. of vacancies are lying in different categories of Govt., Govt. Sponsored and Govt. Aided Libraries as well as in the offices of the District Library Officers
  • c. Most of the existing employees have no computerized background or exposure and have the traditional mindset to render traditional library services
OPPORTUNITIES
  • a. There is a huge gap between the existing no. of books and the user of the libraries
  • b. Huge no. of vacancies are lying in different categories of Govt., Govt. Sponsored and Govt. Aided Libraries as well as in the offices of the District Library Officers
  • c. Most of the existing employees have no computerized background or exposure and have the traditional mindset to render traditional library services
  • d. At present in West Bengal, there is a huge trend of convergence among the several Govt. Departments which may uplift the existing scenario of public libraries for the benefit of the people of the State
THREAT
  • a. To bridge the gap between existing no. of books and its user of the libraries
  • b. Most of the people are not willing to come to the library
  • c. We are not in tune with modern times

ACTUAL PLAN OF ONE YEAR OF DEPT. OF MEE & LS

 

  • a. A special thrust is to be made for infrastructural development of Govt. and Govt.-sponsored Public Libraries in Jangal Mahal, SC/ST areas, Sundarban Area, Hill areas and Minority areas of West Bengal
  • b. Efforts will be made for setting up of Career Counseling Centers and expanded Career Guidance Centers in different Govt. and Govt. Sponsored District and Town / Sub divisional Libraries, to help the unemployed youths by providing various information, books, journals, newspapers, periodicals etc. for selection of career / profession and also for appearing in different competitive examinations for employment
  • c. Efforts will be made for setting up of Text Book Corner in different Govt. and Govt. Sponsored District and Town / Sub divisional Libraries, to help the students of schools, colleges and universities by providing various text books according to the syllabus of them
  • d. An endeavour will be made for setting up of an information corner on life and livelihood in different Govt. and Govt. Sponsored District and Town / Sub divisional and Rural / Primary Unit / Area Libraries. Specialised books on pisciculture, floriculture, agriculture, carpentry, plumbing, electrical maintenance etc., will be available from that comer for creating awareness towards self employment
  • e. Efforts will be made for setting up of a Virtual Library to help the users of current generation by providing various latest digital information and gadgets. Efforts may be taken for inclusion of various Govt. Departments and renowned organisations with the Virtual Library Platform as well as for sustenance of the same
  • f. To modernize public libraries in the State by networking through a Wide Area Network (WAN) and also through a Web Portal upto Govt. and Govt. Sponsored District and Town / Sub divisional library, extensive efforts will be made. More rare and old books will be converted into the digital format and will be available in the digital archives of the portal. More Retro-conversion work will be made during this period
  • g. Special thrust is to be given so that all Departments under Govt. of West Bengal may supply with their welfare / Developmental oriented information / schemes (both in soft and hard copies) to the Department of MEE & LS for inclusion of those information on our website for compiling information under one umbrella
  • h. Efforts will be made for wide publicity of the activities of Directorate of Library Services through different print and mass media for creating awareness among the people on library use and public library services. To popularize and create awareness among the masses the existing scheme of eBasta, as launched by Govt. of India, may be availed, wherefrom existing information or schemes of the Dept, of MEE & LS may be announced or circulated through leaflets etc. through a Tableau
  • i. Thrust is to be given for inter-departmental convergence regarding provision of fresh drinking water, electricity, usable toilets (including ladies toilets), cleaning and dusting etc. to the Govt, and Govt. Sponsored Public Libraries
  • j. On a pilot basis, 100 Sahaj Tathya Mitra centres may be opened at the public libraries to make the public library into a Service Centre / Information Centre / Activity centre
  • k. Initiatives to be taken for filling up existing vacancies at different levels of libraries and offices

 

ACTUAL PLAN BEYOND ONE YEAR OF DEPT. OF MEE & LS

  • a. Efforts may be taken to open a Free Reading Room in the public libraries, particularly in the Tea Garden, Jungle Mahal, Sundarban, SC/ST, Minority prone area even after library hours
  • b. School library may be used as Public library after their school hours particularly in the areas where there is no public library. We may approach to School Education Deptt. suitably
  • c. Efforts may be taken towards transformation of existing public libraries into Service Centres / Activity centres
  • d. To attract more people in the libraries, as there is no sufficient space in most of the libraries, so the ideas of Digital commune, Technology Saloon, availability of 3D printers, Laser cutters, high-speed internet, space for conducting business meeting, may be taken into consideration, as existing in developed countries
  • e. A chat platform may be opened. Efforts may be made to explore the possibilities of seeking assistance from the British Council Library, Kolkata and American Library, Kolkata to train up the existing in-house employees of the library
  • f. To import fresh ideas towards development of public libraries in the State, we may seek assistance from different organizations, such as, Swaminathan Foundation, Banglalore; IMRB, NT, Kharagpur, UNICEF, Read India Group, FICCI, ICC etc.
  • g. Loopholes of computerisation and networking schemes should be identified. Experiences of other developed states of India in connection with providing public library services may be taken into consideration
  • h. As people are not coming in the libraries to a certain extent so library will go to their doorsteps by digitization and through website of this Directorate. RFID based circulation system in all District Libraries may be implemented
  • i. RRRLF may be approached for extending one NICNET line alternate to National Knowledge Network. Efforts may also be taken for VPN connection to the libraries
  • j. Initiation may be made for implementation of cess for public libraries

MAJOR INITIATIVES NEEDED FROM OTHER RELEVANT DEPTS. OF GOVT OF WEST BENGAL

To collaborate with other departments of the State Govt. for resource sharing and logistics supports. As other departments of the State Govt. like Higher Education Department, Home Department etc. are also dealing with the libraries; it is felt, that there is synergy of activities amongst these departments. The academic libraries in School & Colleges can be interlinked with the Public Library of the area for resource sharing. Where there is no Public Library in a village, the Primary / Secondary School premises may be used as an Information and Activity centre for the people of the area. The infrastructural support will be given by the library department from its existing matching schemes that are being operated with RRRLF and human resource and other logistic support may be provided by the Higher Education department. These Activity Centers may also provide Community Information Services (CIS) for which National Mission on Libraries resources may be tapped.

To launch these Activity Centers avenues may be explored to associate with NGOs like Bill Gates Foundation, Read India, SAHAJ, PRATHAM, DELNET, etc. in the area of technology, content creation and human resource and upgradation of infrastructure.

To upgrade the human resource MOU may be made with the British Council Library, Kolkata and American Library, Kolkata to train up the existing in-house employees of the library.