JK’s Public Libraries to offer Career Guidance Services to students

Jammu : Responding to the persistent demand of the students and other library users, the Department of Libraries & Research has decided to keep the Reading Zones in SPS Library Srinagar and SRS Library Jammu open beyond official working hours.

“Reading Zone of SRS Library Jammu and SPS Library Srinagar shall remain open on all working days except gazetted holidays from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm observing COVID-19 protocol,” said a circular issued by Director, Libraries & Research, Mohammad Rafi.

In a separate order, the Director, Libraries & Research has ordered that the Reading Rooms of District Library Srinagar and City Central Library be made operational immediately to facilitate the readers.

Pertinently, there has been an overwhelming demand from library users for keeping the Reading Zones open beyond official working hours.

The issue had been flagged by the readers through the Hon’ble Lt Governor’s Grievance Cell and was also raised by them with the Secretary to the Govt, Department of Culture, Sarmad Hafeez and District Development Commissioner, Srinagar, Dr Shahid Choudhary during their recent visit to the SPS Library.

The Department of Libraries & Research has embarked on a plan of action to reinvent the role of public libraries in J&K by offering Career Guidance and Information Services to the students through the vast network of libraries spread across the UT.

“Due to the cut-throat competition and overflow of information in the fast-changing academic and career scenario, it is very important to provide the right information to the right user and public libraries can play a critical role in guiding the students with right career options,” said Director, Libraries & Research regarding the new initiative.

He said the Department has a network of around 140 public libraries spread across the nook and corner of J&K and these libraries will be repositioned as Career Guidance Centres to facilitate the students with reliable information about admissions in academic and professional colleges/universities, scholarships, fellowships and job opportunities. “We have embarked on a program to build the requisite infrastructure in the libraries pertaining to student needs with the focus on e-resources,” he said and added that to begin with around 300 reference books and 50 prestigious journals/magazines are being provided in SPS Library Srinagar and SRS Library Jammu to help students prepare for various competitive examinations. This, he said, will be a value-addition to the already mandated responsibilities of the public libraries.

The Director Libraries said in the next step, IT hubs are being set up at both SPS and SRS Library to conduct virtual career guidance sessions/classes for students in collaboration with prestigious academic and professional institutions in the country. He said the Department will also install digital display boards in the Reading Zones of these libraries to provide real-time updates to the students regarding college/university admissions, academic courses, scholarships/fellowship and job opportunities.

Mr Rafi said that the Librarians would be imparted the requisite training in dissemination of career guidance information, job opportunities information in ICT environment and the libraries would be provided with updated collections relating to career development of students. He said the Department will team up with professional library organizations outside J&K to adopt the best practices in order to turn the public libraries in J&K into vibrant institutions of learning and information dissemination.

He said the Department will be also inviting Career Counsellors and Subject Experts to impart key tips to students on how to make right career choices and crack various competitive examinations including civil services, NEET/JEE/CAT/CLAT etc.