Friday, August 13, 2010

Gates Foundation Announces 2010 Access to Learning Award Winner

Gates Foundation Announces 2010 Access to Learning Award Winner

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that the Veria Central Public Library in Greece has received this year's $1 million Access to Learning Award.
The award is presented by the foundation's
Global Libraries initiative to libraries and similar organizations outside the United States that provide free access to computers and the Internet. Microsoft, which partners with the foundation to help public libraries connect people to the Internet, will provide the Veria Library with software and technology training curricula.
The library serves the 50,000 residents of Veria and 130,000 people in the surrounding area, serving residents of distant rural villages through mobile libraries equipped with books and laptop computers. The library was an early adopter of many technologies and in 1996 became the first library in Greece to offer free computer and Internet access. It offers resources targeted at children, teenagers, and seniors; computer courses that teach real-world skills such as how to use software, create a resume, share videos online, and participate in social networking; and assistance to help immigrants adjust to their new home. The Veria Library also has formed partnerships with many other libraries, programs, and institutions within Greece and around the world to enable the exchange of experiences and knowledge.
"Our library is about making people's lives easier and better, not just about housing books and information," said Veria Central Public Library director Ioannis Trohopoulos. "We are a small library that is committed to offering modern tools and services to help as many people as possible find new economic, academic, and social opportunities."
“Greek Library Receives $1 Million International Award for Embracing Technology and Creating Vibrant Community Asset.” Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Press Release 8/12/10.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

IFLA 2010 - Papers from South Asia

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Centre plans to set up 7,000 libraries

Centre plans to set up 7,000 libraries

Sunday, November 01, 2009

New Delhi: With an aim to encourage reading habit among people, the Centre is planning to set up about 7,000 libraries having computers with internet facility across the country, a large chunk of which may go to rural areas.

These libraries will be opened as part of the National Mission on Libraries (NML), the Centre's initiative to revitalise the public library movement in the country.

Sources said the Culture Ministry has sent a set of recommendations in this regard to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who holds charge of the ministry. The new libraries, if the proposals are accepted, will be equipped with modern gadgets and broadband connectivity besides being networked with other leading libraries, educational and cultural institutions.

The recommendations were made as it was felt that these facilities are necessary in this age of technology and that is the only way to bring back people to libraries.

The ministry has also recommended that a major chunk of the about 7,000 proposed new libraries should go to the rural areas to benefit the students there, who are deprived of such facilities, the sources said.

They said it has been recommended that the new libraries may be set up in rural areas, especially near schools which do not have such facility.

"The Ministry will also be working in tandem with the HRD Ministry in this sector and we have asked them to identify schools in rural areas which do not have library facilities," the sources said.

They pointed out that establishing libraries near public schools will encourage students to develop reading habits. Besides, the library staff will also be trained to handle the technical devices.

The sources also said the recommendations include providing special services to differently-abled people in the libraries.

The ministry is also planning to give a complete make-over to public libraries across the country as part of the NML. "Public libraries across the country will benefit from the Mission which will bring in modern technical equipment to the libraries. These libraries in the country have not seen such things," the sources said.

The proposals include broadband connectivity to public libraries and networking them with other libraries and the ones in reputed institutions.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

'Develop libraries like malls'

DNA Correspondent, Sunday, August 30, 2009
In tune with the changes brought about in society with the economic and social developments in the last two decades, libraries need to be upgraded, especially with knowledge. In fact, the library culture needs to be nurtured and continued for the future.
Therefore, librarians need to work hard towards this end and make libraries more user- and people-friendly. On the occasion of Librarians' Day, a seminar on 'Information literacy and changing landscape of libraries' was organised by the Ahmedabad Library Network at the Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) on Saturday.
August 12 is celebrated as Librarians' Day, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Dr SR Ranganathan, the father of the Indian library movement. The entire month has seminars and workshops related to library science.
Addressing a gathering of more than 300 librarians and students, senior librarian of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA), H Anil Kumar said that with the social and economic developments that came along with free-trade policies, the role of libraries has changed.
"Libraries have always been a focal point of human life. However, they could not evolve as required and have become mere storerooms. Like the mall culture that has evolved over the years, wherein people have a variety of choices, libraries should change their physical outlook and create a learning ambience for students as well as teachers," Kumar said.
He stressed on the fact that the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has declared information literacy as a basic human right and that the US, Australia and many European countries have already adopted this. "However, India is still lagging behind," Kumar said.
The other speakers at the event said that the education delivery system should include having students and teachers use them. It should be designed in such a way that everyone can be a lifelong learner and such a system should start from school-level teaching, and learning should go beyond the classroom, they said.
The speakers also called on librarians to better understand and spread knowledge on the difference between digital, virtual, online and e-resources. They said that librarians must have the perception of right terms in order to search for relevant information online.
Dinesh Awasthi, director, EDI; Janak Parikh, president, AMA; and Bhagyesh Jha, commissioner of information, Gujarat Information Bureau, also delivered lectures at the event.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Delhi Book Fair opens with international participation

Madhur Tankha, The Hindu, NEW DELHI, August 29, 2009
15th edition of the Annual Book fair features books from Abu Dhabi, China, Iran, Pakistan and the United States, in addition to India.
Stating that books play a significant role in shaping the mindset of the younger generation, Union Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Salman Khurshid on Saturday appealed to India publishers to bring out books that are constructive, secular and progressive in outlook.
Inaugurating the 15th edition of the Delhi Book Fair-2009 at Pragati Maidan here, he complimented the India Trade Promotion Organisation and the Federation of Indian Publishers for institutionalising a book event of international stature.
Pointing out the significant role played by books in national integration by “building literary bridges across the socio-cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of the country,” Mr. Khurshid expressed happiness over the considerable growth of the Indian publishing sector and its integration with the global book market.
The Minister emphasised the need for some of the eminent Indian authors publishing in English language to consider publishing in the country rather than overseas. “This would eliminate the waiting time for such books to reach book lovers in India. I am optimistic that the issue of volumes or attitudinal factors that may be coming in the way of publishing such books in the country could be appropriately sorted out.”
Welcoming overseas exhibitors from Abu Dhabi, China, Iran, Pakistan and the United States, Mr. Khurshid said that he hoped that the fair would give a fillip to enhancing international collaborations in publishing and business transactions. He pointed out that Pragati Maidan was not merely an exhibition ground but had become a focal point of vital every day life of the Capital.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary (Ministry of Culture) Jawhar Sircar disclosed that the Prime Minister had set up an advisory committee for the National Library for compilation and digitalisation of large number of books. “Ninety thousand books published every year in India are sent to The National Library. As a result of the process of digitalising and modernising the cataloguing process, many books lying unattended will be made available to readers. It was estimated that as part of the modernisation process it would take about two and half years to have all books in The National Library in the digital format.”
Mr. Sircar further commented that book fair was not just an event but a “cultural handshake that needs to be organised with meticulous care”.
The Delhi Book Fair is open up to September 6.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Five decades on, it continues to fascinate bibliophiles

Anupam Bhagria

Posted: Aug 04, 2009 at 0223 hrs IST

Ludhiana - In a city where affluence and extravagance rule the roost, there are many who love to spend time in the company of books. And for many of the bibliophiles in the city, the Panjab University Extension Library is the place to be.

Established in 1960, the library was one of the three prestigious libraries of India.

Prem Parkash Verma, who retired as librarian in 2003, said, "It was opened by the UGC and American PL 480 Plan (UNESCO) at Jaipur, Madurai and Ludhiana. While the remaining two have closed down, this continues to cater to a segment of the city's intelligentsia. The library started from rented rooms in the Zila Parishad complex in 1960. It was shifted to the present building in April 1967 and was formally inaugurated in February 1968 by V V Giri, the then President of India."

Since then, catering to the needs of readers, this beautiful monument stands in the form of an impressive academic structure in the heart of the city near the Fountain Chowk in Civil Lines.

It may not be an excellent architectural specimen but exudes a fragrance of books even as one enters the portals of this red stone building. The library, which started with 15,000 books, now boasts of more than 1.60 lakh volumes of different subjects and languages other than periodicals and newspapers.

According to Verma, "In 2003, the Panjab University Regional Centre came up here. Later, a newly-opened institute of law and an institute of management added feather to the library's cap. I feel that general readership declined perhaps due to the impact of computers and TV channels."

With more than 2,000 members on its rolls, many prefer to come here to prepare for their competitive exams in the serene environment of the elongated rooms.

Jaswinder Singh Dhillon, a youngster said, "I visit the library twice a week. It is such a nice place to study and of course the very ambiance charms me."

Recalling their old times, Sukhcharan Singh, a government schoolteacher, said, "I never bought any book during our post-graduation and used to come here to prepare notes. I scored very good marks and also qualified in my competitive exam after studying here."

Neena Sagar, an old student of SCD Government College for Boys, said, "I still cherish the moments I spent here while preparing for my exams in MA English. The old wooden chairs, the well-planned catalogues and of course the plethora of books always fascinated me."

Source: Expressindia

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Punjab’s rural libraries spread awareness in farmers’ lives

Ani July 25th, 2009
BATHINDA - Many libraries in the rural Punjab are spreading awareness about different aspects of life and society and thus transforming lives of farmer families.
At Jidda village in State’s Bathinda district, people of different age groups gather to read daily newspapers at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Library in the village.
While farmers get updates and latest farming related news, the youth hunt for news and job options in national and local newspapers here.
“The farmers have benefited. They have gained knowledge about pesticides and newer techniques in farming at the library. Everyday, we read newspapers and the magazines like ‘Changi Kheti’ (good farming) and others. We find some time to spend in the library to gain knowledge,” said Sadhu Singh, a farmer and library member.
Set up in 1978, the library has a collection of over 1,500 books on almost all subjects, including religion, literature and history. It helps to promote reading habit among the rural people, and also raises awareness about civil rights and many other issues.
“Our aim in opening up libraries is to make the rural people aware of their rights by providing them modern literature. We want them to come to library and read books and use the information about civil rights and even fight for it. We are witnessing the impact of this move as many farmers unions have been established, that are now fighting for their rights,” said Jagmail Singh, a member of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Library Committee.
Each member is expected to pay Rs.50 (about a dollar) as security deposit for books for two years. It enables the member to get books issued for two weeks from the library.
Shaheed Bhagat Singh Library Committee has the responsibility to look after the maintenance of library.
Besides, the Sabhyachar and Samaj Sewa Manch, a non-governmental organisation, which is running three libraries at Mansa and Khokhar Khurd village, and spreading awareness.
As more people in the rural areas are keen to become members, there is a feeling among the library members that more such libraries should be set up.
“Every village should have libraries. It will help youth and people of other age groups to spend their time in reading the books, and not to indulge in other anti-social activities. If there is a library in the village, the villagers will come and spend time in reading books and newspapers and will be better informed,” said Romi, one of the library members.
Farming is becoming more complex and requires greater understanding and knowledge on the part of the farmers.
And a library can be a great medium to provide them more information abnout new crops, technology, fertilizers and even about climate.
By Avtar Gill (ANI)