TODAY -

Central Library reels under problems galore
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 24 2022: Though it is accepted globally that libraries provide the students a very healthy environment for learning, the State Central Library, Imphal is facing a multitude of problems due to lack of infrastructure and staff.

Perturbed over this shortage, many readers and youth preparing to appear in different competitive examinations have already stopped going to the library.

The Sangai Express went to the 'Manipur State Central Library at Keishampat to ascertain how many people still use the public library after going through different waves of Covid pandemic.

During the visit, this reporter found that the seating capacity of the library is not enough to accommodate all the regular visitors but despite the shortcomings more and more youth especially those appearing in competitive examinations and book lovers continue to come for enrolment at the library.

The library offers two batches (7.30 am to 2.30 pm) and (2.30 pm to 7 pm) in winter and (7.30 am to 2.30 pm) and (2.30 pm to 8 pm) in summer.

Speaking to this reporter, one of the staff said that the library was reopened after the restriction placed due to Covid pandemic was lifted by following all the safety protocols.

Saying that the rate of enrolment is literally high at the library as there are many youth in Imphal alone who are preparing for competitive examinations, the staff continued that the library, unfortunately, has a seating capacity of 150 (100 at the ground floor and 50 at the first floor) only.

The library keeps many books for reference, he added.

The Sangai Express also witnessed many young adults coming to read at the library but they left disappointed as the seats at the library were all occupied.

One of the officials of the library, on the condition of anonymity, stated that books are being kept at the old building of the library, 'but it is not spacious enough to house all the books' .

Saying that the library doesn't have a separate room for the staff apart from other inadequacies, he added that the library is unlikely to accommodate all those who frequent there even if the seating capacity is increased to 2000.The library was earlier managed by 28 staff including Chief Librarian but the figure has now been reduced to 11 as some have retired while others have been transferred to other places, he said and added that managing the library with just 11 staff is extremely difficult.

He further stated that the Government hasn't taken up any measure to fill the vacant posts though the vacancy list has been submitted.

There are district libraries which are under Manipur Central Library but they too don't have enough staff, he said, adding that several other public libraries were also inaugurated at Imphal East, Jiribam, Moreh, Kangpokpi and Bishnupur in between 2014 and 2018 but these libraries are yet to become operational as no staff have been recruited yet.

The official further stated that the library at Keishampat doesn't have a single digitized book and is yet to provide better internet facilities to the readers and job seekers.

He said that they, nonetheless, are working to provide better facilities to the readers and organise Book Fair from December 15 to 24 every year in association with Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation.


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