Local Library Condition : Challenges and opportunities

A Policy Forum was held at Jassore public Library on 10th August, 2017 as part of the Libraries Unlimited Policy and Advocacy series. IID, as the Policy Partner of the programme, organized this policy forum, in partnership with the British Council. Speakers at the event included government representatives, local community workers, current and former librarians, students, civil society leader, writers and many more.

The speakers acknowledged the current condition of local libraries and the facilities they lack compared to modern libraries around the world. Issues like insufficient reading materials; uncomfortable sitting arrangement and readers losing interest on attending libraries were discussed most

Lack of concern:  when asked, student attendees shared that for some of them this was their first visit to a library. They also added that they do not find libraries interesting and many of them think library doesn’t appeal to them anymore. Later on Rest of the participants discussed on how to encourage young readers to visit libraries more

  • Less Idea about Library is one of the main reasons of youngsters not attending libraries. Participants advised to collect new and education related books more as young people want to know more about new books and mostly the kind of books that help them with education.
  • Salary of the librarian: Some of the participants shared that librarians are not well paid as well as well trained and that’s why readers doesn’t get good service while they attend library causing readers to lose interest in library.

Location of Library: libraries are not always available everywhere which is another issue for young readers to not to visit libraries. Participants suggests-

  • Connecting libraries with local schools: If every school starts to offer library services then young students would spend more time after school creating a bond with books and making an early age reading habit.
  • Online libraries: Central libraries should offer online services so that those who cannot reach libraries could have access from home. Library should also be friendly towards disable or physically challenged people a well.
  • Lack of discussion on library:   Participants discussed that not only politician and policy makers but also school and family members should discuss the importance of reading books and visiting libraries.
  • Local schools can arrange book fairs or held book reading competition for youngsters to make reading more interesting.
  • Family members should emphasise not only on study book but also to read story book to create a reading culture.
  • Social attempts: books shape up the backbone of a society. Hence a movement is needed to promote library culture.

Lack of funding: Participants shared that lack of funding is a big issue in the society. They suggested-

  • Local initiation: Social elites can help by donating to the library or sponsoring reading campaigns.
  • Donation: Affluent personas can leave their legacy for Libraries.

Implementation of law:  Implementation of laws that can create awareness about the importance of reading help to raise the situation all together.

IID Policy Forum IID Policy Forum is a discussion series that brings grassroots voice to the national policy process. Typically organized at the local level, the series follows an innovative and adaptive format to conduct policy discussions involving multi-stakeholders from local communities. It also takes into account local socioeconomic realities and interests

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