Tuesday, April 13, 2010

e-facilities edge out Ahmedabad's old libraries

e-facilities edge out Ahmedabad's old libraries
Priya Adhyaru-Majithia / DNAMonday, April 12, 2010 10:27 IST
Ahmedabad: When information is available at the click of a mouse, why browse among dusty, wooden cabinets filled with dog-eared, books, yellowed with age, their pages brittle, and silverfish thriving in them?

The city’s traditional libraries with their tall, whitewashed buildings are fast becoming redundant. Booklovers and students in the city are shying off conventional reading places and heading for the stylish ambience of modern, fully air-conditioned libraries with steel racks and books with crisp pages.

But what really gives the modern libraries an edge over their traditional elder cousins is the fact that they also make their stock available to their readers online. This obviates the entire process of physically having to go to a library to borrow or return a book.

The librarians of the city’s old libraries told DNA that the Indian library scene is set for a radical transformation. Bharti Desai, librarian in-charge of Gujarat Vidyapith, said there had been a 40 per cent drop in the number of daily visitors to Vidyapith library.

“Grants for new books and maintenance of the place have gone up but, strangely, the number of people using the library has fallen,” she said. “Why would anyone make an effort to visit a library when the information one needs is easily available on the internet?”MJ Library, believed to be the biggest library in the city with the best collection of books, was once visited by more than 1,500 readers a day. Its librarian, Prabhatsinh Dabhi, said the number of readers had now come down to an average of 700 entries per day.

“Also, there has been a decline of about 30% in the membership of the library’s Bal Kishor Vibhag [children’s section for kids under 14 years],” he said. “The time-consuming procedure for borrowing books has become outdated and is, apparently, discouraging library users.”

The BJ Institute of Learning and Research Library which has a rich collection of about 11,000 catalogued manuscripts, is another major resource for the city’s students and researchers. Its director, Ramjibhai Savalia, said the library was used particularly by people doing research in Gujarati, Sanskrit and Prakrit languages.

Source: DNA dated 12th. April, 2010
Accessed from http://www.dnaindia.com/academy/report_e-facilities-edge-out-ahmedabad-s-old-libraries_1370335 on 13/04/2010.

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