Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Culture
03-February-2014 17:08 IST
National Mission on Libraries Launched by President Shri Pranab Mukherjee

President Shri Pranab Mukherjee here today launched the National Mission on Libraries (NML), an initiative of the Ministry of Culture to modernise and digitally link public libraries across the country.

At a function held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Shri Mukherjee also formally inaugurated the NML’s guidelines, logo and website in the presence of Culture Minister Smt. Chandresh Kumari Katoch. Secretary Culture Shri Ravindra Singh and other dignitaries were also present at the function.

Speaking at the function Shri Pranab Mukherjee said, the creation of a National Virtual Library of India is one of the major component schemes of the National Mission on Libraries. This is truly a step in the right direction. With the aim of equitable and universal access to knowledge resources, the National Virtual Library of India would provide digital resources by digitizing the relevant reading material in different languages, which would be shared at all levels. He said, he is happy to know that the target users of NVLI will not only be students, researchers, doctors and professionals but also the educationally, socially, economically and physically disadvantaged groups. Thus, it would empower people with information in order to create a knowledge society and also ensure preservation of digital content for posterity.

Shri Mukherjee said, digital libraries open up the possibility of far more flexible and coherent multimedia collections that are both fully searchable and browsable in multiple dimensions. As each generation becomes more in tune with the Internet, their desire to retrieve information as quickly and easily as possible has increased. Finding information by simply searching the Internet is considered much easier and faster than reading an entire book. He said, he is confident that this initiative of National Mission on Libraries will largely facilitate the internet savvy people in making maximum use of library resources.

The President said, the endeavour of the National Mission on Libraries towards setting up of model libraries will set a benchmark for the development of Libraries. He said that these model libraries would be facilitated with subscription of E-Journals/E-Book services through Web VPN Services developed by National Informatics Centre. These would also be provided with reading resources to meet the local needs. It is appreciable that appropriate facilities would be created to meet the needs of Senior Citizens, Specially-abled persons and children.

Speaking on the occasion the Culture Minister Smt. Chandresh Kumari Katoch has said that in recognition of the pivotal role of Libraries and the recommendation of the National Knowledge Commission her Ministry has set up a National Mission on Libraries to ensure sustained attention to development of libraries. She said, this Mission has identified four core areas viz. Creation of a National Virtual Library of India, Setting up of National Mission on Libraries Model Libraries, Quantitative & Qualitative Survey of Libraries and Capacity Building for revamping the Public Library System & Services.

She said, for all these activities, Government of India has allocated Rs. 400 crore to be used in the next 3 years. She said the goals of the National Mission of Libraries cannot and will not be accomplished without the active participation of different State Governments and Union Territories. She urged every partner to extend their support and cooperation for effective and time bound implementation of these projects.

Approved by the government in November last year, NML was set up in pursuance of a report of the National Knowledge Commission, which recommended a total revamp of the Library and Information Service sector to serve the changing needs and expectations of the users and give a fillip to the library movement in the country. Nine important constituents of the NML include upgradation of infrastructure, digitization and modernisation, census of libraries and their development as knowledge centres and transformation of libraries into empowering and inclusive institutions.

Under the scheme, six libraries under the Culture Ministry, 35 Central Libraries in states and 35 District Libraries will be developed as model libraries. Emphasis will on developing these libraries in economically backward districts. Further, 629 district libraries across the states would be provided network connectivity. For setting up of the model libraries, existing libraries would be identified in consultation with the state governments to improve infrastructure and upgrade technology used by them.

NML also intends to create a National Virtual Library of India (NVLI) to facilitate a comprehensive database on digital resources, carry out a census on the resources available in the libraries and conduct a study on the reading habits in different regions of the country.

In the revamped libraries, cataloguing will be done not only of books and journals but also of all policies of the government in public domain to facilitate easy access and research work. Efforts will also be made to provide reading material in a multilingual mode.

Besides upgrading the infrastructure of public libraries, a major component of NML is to initiating need-based training programmes to develop managerial skills and IT competencies of their personnel in tune with demands of the Internet era.

The chief objectives of NML are to create a world class library system, foster reading habits, facilitate research work and provide information to people in a timely and convenient manner which is also universal and equitable.

NML is designed to benefit the entire spectrum of population -- students, researchers, scientists, professionals, children, artists and differently abled persons. While the survey of libraries would be completed within one year, the other objectives of the scheme would be achieved by the end of the 12th Plan period.

Kolkata-based Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF) is the nodal agency for the implementation of NML, a 10-member body headed by Prof. Deepak Pental, former Vice Chancellor of Delhi University.