Srinagar: The Department of Libraries and Research is planning to establish a network of theme-based Reading Zones-cum-Public Libraries in J&K in convergence with various Departments to broaden the citizens’ access to knowledge and information.
This was announced by Secretary, Culture, Tourism and Youth Services & Sports, Sarmad Hafeez during his visit to the SPS Library complex here today.
He said the Libraries Department has already started the process for establishing two Smart Libraries in Srinagar in collaboration with Srinagar Smart City Ltd. “Some more theme-based libraries are being planned in Srinagar and Jammu in convergence with Tourism Department, Information Department, Airports Authority of India Ltd, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Department of Archives, Archelogy & Museums and Mubarak Mandi Heritage Society,” he said and added that these theme-based libraries will include special reading material for students, researchers, women, children, tourists, travellers, senior citizens and heritage enthusiasts.
Sarmad visited various sections of the library and interacted with a large number of students who were present in the Reading Room there. He hailed the Libraries Department for providing Wi-Fi connectivity to the whole SPS Library Complex.
Responding to various demands of the students including increase in timing and space constraints, the Secretary Culture announced that another Reading Room at the 1st Floor of the SPS Library would be made fully functional and opened for students. He said the operational hours for the Reading Room would be from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm from 1st January 2021. He said the Department would also explore the possibility of keeping the library open during holidays to facilitate the readers. He also called for making the cafeteria in the Library Complex immediately functional.
Sarmad said the Department would be also inviting Career Counsellors and Subject Experts who will impart key tips to students on how to crack various competitive examinations including civil services, NEET/JEE/CAT/CLAT etc.
He called for sustained and extensive technological interventions in libraries including automation, e-cataloguing and e-circulation to make them more user-friendly.
The Secretary Culture hailed the sustained efforts of Director Libraries & Research, Mr Mohammad Rafiq towards repositioning and reinventing the libraries in J&K through various innovative and technological interventions. “It is heartening to note that the Libraries Department has of late introduced some pioneering measures to give a refreshing look to the libraries in the UT and make them lively literary places,” he said and added that the credit for these initiatives goes to the Director Libraries, Mr Mohammad Rafi.
Responding to the demands of the Libraries Department employees, Secretary Culture said a comprehensive reorganization proposal would be formulated to create career progression avenues for the officers/officials of the Libraries Department.
Sarmad said that J&K has the distinction of having oldest libraries in the region including SRS Library Jammu established in 1879 and SPS Library Srinagar established in 1898. He said these two central libraries have a collection of around 1 lakh titles including some rare books and manuscripts.
Senior officials of the Libraries Department Kashmir accompanied the DDC during his visit to the SPS Library and briefed him about various ongoing activities including automation and digitization of rare books and manuscripts.