Contemporary issues of Library in Manipur

S Muansangluai Ngaihte *

Manipur University Library at Manipur University (MU), Canchipur
Manipur University Library at Manipur University (MU), Canchipur :: Pix - Phurailatpam Banti

"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library."
- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

"When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that American society has found one more way to destroy itself."
-Isaac Asimov, Renowned author and American Scientist (Biochemistry)


Without data or news there can be no information, without information there can be no knowledge, without knowledge there can be no wisdom and similarly without wisdom there can be no personal and social development. So, sustainability of development can only persist when information is systematically stored in an organized manner, and can be retrieved in the form of printed or in electronic format. This requires a place where those packed information can be acquired, organized, classified, retrieved and disseminated by professionals time and again.

With the development of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the 21st century, there has been a tremendous development not only in the production of printed books and periodicals, but also in the production of electronic books and journals and other information which are readily available on the internet for worldwide use. In all these developments, libraries and its professionals play a pivotal role.

As such the importance of libraries is increasing day by day. Today, people are facing the problem of information explosion resulting in the need of a Librarian who knows the right information for the right information-seeker and who also knows how to give the information at the right time thereby saving the invaluable time of the information seeker. In fact the role of libraries and librarians are becoming more and more vital in this present age. Recognizing the importance of libraries, nowadays many institutions/ organizations/ departments in the world are encouraging the growth and development of libraries in their respective institutions and areas.

Present Scenario in Manipur

Library situation in Manipur is still amateur due to lack of opportunity, in every aspect, for the library professionals to expose their skills. Unskilled persons simply handle most of the public and school libraries in Manipur. In fact automation, digitization of public library in Manipur is still a utopia. Majority of the civil societies, bureaucrats still doubt what role the library has in the up liftmen of academic and social life of the people, and they see no pragmatic impact in any aspect. People still underestimate its importance.

In my last article which was published a couple of months back; I had mentioned the basic concept of what a library means to us. Yes! According to laymen's perception, a library is the place where books are stored but still only a few of us can truly acknowledge the role it plays in our academic institution and so on. The Secretary of Manipur Library Association (MALA-since 1987) Dr. Ch. Ibohal Singh has observed that any effort for education reforms would remain a mere dream if attention is not given to libraries which are the hearts of quality education. Even though Manipur is the sixth state in the country which has its own Library Act, the existing Manipur Libraries Act-1988 is still non-operational.

Due to lack of proper attention from the side of the concerned authorities or department, public libraries in Manipur have remained miserable. Based on my pilot study, there are many librarian posts lying vacant in Government colleges, but the Government is neglecting to fill up these posts. No core importance is given to library professionals.

Focusing on Lamka in particular, there are lots of witnesses that in most of the institutions, libraries exist only by name sake, in fact, no proper maintenance or professional staffs are available. Our District library (established since 1974), for instance, is at present dysfunctional with no staff. Only the warden is responsible for maintenance.

As per the Manipur Public Library Legislation Act 1988 (Vide Rule Chapter IV), District Library Authorities are to be maintained, which are supposed to be led by the administrative head of the district, but at this point of time it is only in theory with a proper record, but no implementation so far. Even some schools and colleges have just a handful of professional staff which is still considered as just the catalyst of institution but not the foundation of it. Shortages of staff are everywhere i.e. there is no paradigm of development so far.

MALA took an initiative part in development of Library Legislation Act-1988, but there is still no response from the state government as yet. Despite of all the stagnant situation of library movement in our state, fortunately few of our new generation came to aware of its important, and we are now having a handful of professional trainee. Although the educational benefit that libraries bring to communities is well known in other states and countries, some still wonder about the impact that libraries have. An educational institution without a good library is a failure. As per UGC Criteria, all colleges' and universities should focus more on library for effective learning and service given to teachers, researchers, students by libraries. However, the State Government has failed to turn its attention to this critical aspect of education for more than 20 years now.

So, what Role does Library exactly play in Society?

* A library can be considered a "storehouse of knowledge". In dictionaries the word "library" has been defined as "a building or room containing a collection of books"..

* A library plays a very important role in promoting the progress of knowledge. There are many people who love reading. But they can't afford to buy books because the prices of books are very high. So when one becomes a member of a library, he can borrow valuable books.

* It plays an important role in cataloging information, particularly in regards to the history and culture of society, but they also provide people with free opportunities for learning through books, magazines, newspapers, and multimedia tools..

* A library is very useful for rural youths. If they take to reading they will be able to refrain from evil habits such as loitering and gambling. There are not only books, but also newspapers, magazines, periodicals and government gazette in a library.

* It also plays a vital role in excelling the quality of education by imbibing the users with authentic information by providing according to their needs.

Hypothetic Solution for remedial measure

* Social Leaders, Bureaucrats, Politicians should support the Library movement initiated by Manipur Library Association for their involvement in promotion of library activities all over Manipur.

* Manipur library legislation act 1988 must be activated which are at present defunct due to negligence by the state government. If this act is passed, lots of provisions can be implemented for the upliftment of public library with special assistance from Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF). This RRRFL was established in 1972 by the department of Culture, Government of India. The main objectives of the foundation are to promote and support public library movement in the country by providing adequate library services, facilities and developing reading habits all over the country.

* Instead of regarding library as an obsolete, State and District council administrators, and Institutional heads' should take the initiative to allocate funds for improved standard, staffing and technology.


Society is not ready to abandon the library, and it probably won't ever be. Libraries can adapt to social and technological changes, but they can't be replaced. After pointing out certain issues pertaining to library condition, there has to be change in the institution and within the society at large. There may be a time when we realize how far behind we are in this world of Information explosion all because of the lack of proper libraries.

Digital era may rule but library and librarians are the most suited professionals to guide scholars and citizens toward a better understanding of how to find valuable information online. Rather than lope blindly through the digital age, guided only by the corporate interests of web economics; society should foster a culture of guides and guideposts.

Today, more than ever, libraries are extremely important for the preservation and improvement of our culture. So, if we want to consider ourselves as well educated, informative, and a developed society at large, library cannot be ignored. One should take bold step for improving the condition of Library in our state starting from district level. So, let us examine ourselves and find out who will be responsible for developing the library or, is the higher authority acting ignorant?

* S Muansangluai Ngaihte wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is an M.Phil Research Scholar (UGC-NET 2012), Delhi University and presently Librarian at Rayburn High
This article was posted on November 29, 2013.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Tangkhul Zingtun Longphang #1: Gallery
  • Wungramphy, Khamgonpou: eMing
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #3 : Gallery
  • Career option in Human Rights
  • Water conflicts over the Brahmaputra
  • PAC against Killing of Pravish: 17 Jan
  • Neiphiu Rio resigns from NPF
  • NPF-BJP Relationship : NPF clarifies
  • Consolidating the sporting heritage
  • Rising air and noise pollution
  • Kukis have equal right... : Neiphiu Rio
  • Rajnath reviews security in NE
  • Lafoi Shamda puthorkpa #2 : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Commercial Stalls #3: Gallery
  • The joy of living :: Poem
  • Bamboo a tree or grass ?
  • SELF Workshop on Leadership & Fulfilment
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Fight against corruption; we need Lokayukta
  • Hailing the role of drivers
  • Nangna Helli Nungshiba #2 :: eRang
  • Pung Chollom : Gallery
  • Wakhal Seireng :: Book Review
  • Imphal Jamboree by Global Shapers
  • Importance of regular health check-ups
  • Meetei demand for ST is Constitutional.. #2
  • Weapon Display organized at Moreh
  • Ex-Servicemen Rally organized
  • AR helps Orphanage & Old Age Home
  • Search of comprehensive culture & identity
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #1 : Gallery
  • Manipur Gas Today :: Android App
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3: Gallery
  • GNRC media fellowship announced
  • The Meiteis- Festival & celebration maniacs
  • How to make bridal mehndi long lasting
  • Governor's attention drawn to RIMS
  • Scientist develops prototype of electric car
  • Stereotypes about NE make people living..
  • Light Show at Loktak Lake #5 : Gallery
  • Candlelight vigil for Pravish : Gallery
  • Imbroglio of ethnic identity of Ranglong
  • Foundation For Excellence scholarship
  • Time Table - Class XII Exam 2018
  • Mail spoofing- Trickery by deception
  • Trial by fire
  • Call for solution before election
  • Villagers along Myanmar border get pass
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Art and Artist, A Creative Space
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #2 : Gallery
  • Ode to Thy Mellow Light :: Poem
  • Xmas with Meitei eche at Phaijol
  • Time Table - Class XI Exam 2018
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • IMC , now another hurdle to traffic mgmt
  • Setting aside two days for the people
  • Maring: Kummui Chaa-um : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #5 : Gallery
  • Statehood Day Women's Polo Tournament
  • Time Table - HSLC Exam 2018
  • Bananas: Beauty's best friend
  • DPC for Follower at Manipur Police
  • Job Openings at JCRE Skill Solutions
  • The lost treasure
  • Nagas' Interests : Stand of NPF MSU
  • Nagaland polls on schedule: HM
  • Mukna Kangjei Tournament #2: Gallery
  • Keisham Manihar : Natyabhusan(Leela)
  • World Tourism Day #3: Gallery
  • Responsibility of protecting the environment
  • Phishing vs Vishing: The Verbal Challenge
  • BNHS Bi-monthly Program for Jan-Feb
  • Managing weight for preventing diabetes
  • Making democracy peoples' participatory
  • Progressing from media to SC
  • Manipur to set up modern food lab
  • Gaan Ngai @ Kakhulong Khun: Gallery
  • A trip to Moreh #2 : Gallery
  • How long catchy slogans keep hopes alive
  • Recycling of hospital waste-water
  • I am sometime or somewhere : Poem
  • Angami Zapu Phizo's Surreal 2017 AD
  • Film "Legacy Of King Narak" awarded
  • Of PM and our CM
  • Patronising the killing machines ?
  • Deferment of polls unlikely: Ravi
  • PM may visit Manipur in March
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #2: Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs East Bengal #2: Gallery
  • Transform Colleges into Innovation Centres
  • New Delhi: World Book Fair 2018 :: Review
  • Cry Of A Dying River...12 :: Poem
  • Workshop on National Pension for NE
  • Law enforcers action - Well & good
  • Final pact yet to see light of day
  • Cold wave hits Manipur
  • Take out the cymbals, Manoharsai to stay
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • MaiOn - Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #2: Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #4 : Gallery
  • Is Global Warming Natural or Anthropogenic
  • Prof Gangmumei Kamei: Legendary hero
  • Common Education System rally organized
  • DAMMS launched 2018 calendar
  • Chorus for 'Solution Not Election'
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #1 : Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai @Moirangkhom : Gallery
  • I was born healthy, I wanna die healthy
  • Practice peace & change the life
  • TSA Moreh Block installed
  • Cycle Rally: common education system
  • Ethics, medical profession & soaring fees
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Meira rally for Pravish : Gallery
  • Accelerate momentum to endTB for SDGs
  • The call that can't be turned down
  • Live@MDU: New act with same old vibes
  • 1st Centre of Excellence- Electronics Skill
  • LED Lights installed by Loktak Station
  • NE tragedy: Policy failures & influx
  • Angaoba - Scenes #3 :: eRang
  • 51st Mr Manipur Contest 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Result: Manipur Sangai Intl Digital salon
  • Use Swachhata App to Make Imphal No. 1
  • Career @ events and celebration
  • Night nourishing
  • Indo-Nepal Friendship: 25 yrs of Don Bosco
  • Understanding the indices of life
  • Poppy cultivation & drug cartels
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #1: Gallery
  • Day 10: Closing of Sangai Fest #4 : Gallery
  • The creation of the universe, matter...
  • Mumbai: The city of dreams
  • Let this new year kill your new fears
  • Asian Waterbird Census: Count waterbirds
  • Looking for a better inclusive alternative
  • Coaching & commercialisation of education
  • New Year picnic @ Singda Dam : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Despite Stolen Dreams :: Book Rvw
  • Handloom Training @Hojai : Gallery
  • The Perfect timing
  • IGAR (south) meets Chief Minister
  • Communique from Neiphiu Rio on NDPP
  • Discussion on 'Rohingyas' at Delhi
  • In the process of making change- Manipur
  • Looking ahead from vantage point 2017
  • NEROCA FC Vs East Bengal #1: Gallery
  • World Tourism Day #2: Gallery
  • Immediate Manipur
  • Easter Peace :: Poem
  • You are what you eat
  • Goals for Girls: Leadership Summit @Delhi
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #1: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Front Page Photo #6: Gallery
  • LUCIFER-X released debut EP
  • ..on the ocean of despondence :: Poem
  • Happy new year to State lovers
  • New year, new me: Re-designing self
  • Quiz Competition & Career Awareness
  • Calendar for the Year 2018 :: e-pao Tools
  • Gaan Ngai : Zeliangrong festival :: Flash
  • 51st Mr Manipur Contest 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Crowd @ Flower Festival @Mao #4: Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai Festival of Zelianglong
  • Goodbye 2017, welcome 2018
  • Cry of a dying river- 11 :: Poem
  • Free Heart OPD & Echocardiogram
  • Peoples' mandate: what next?
  • Understanding Manipur and its history
  • Kwatha (Indo-Myanmar Border) #2: Gallery
  • Thang Ta @Parlimentary : Gallery
  • A Hymn for Goddess Emoinu
  • Bamboo for poverty alleviations
  • A costly peace deal
  • The song of the speech-impaired : Poem
  • Opportunity for NE Youth @Delhi/NCR
  • Chief Of Army Staff visits Manipur
  • Waiting for another begining
  • NE: Little change albeit promises galore
  • Flower Festival @ Mao #3 : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Why the Ngamu Fish ?
  • Unsung heroes
  • Wishing a goa in Manipur!
  • Handloom Weaver at Nagaon, Assam
  • Reminder on role of media & political party
  • Hospital death: Deliver justice if delivery ..
  • Restricted Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Lourembam Bedabati : Sangeetbhusan
  • Culturals @ Mera Houchongba #3 : Gallery
  • Handloom Training @Assam : Gallery
  • Ras Leela @Parliment committee: Gallery
  • List of RIST popular talks during 2014-2017
  • 'Good Governance Day' & Manipur
  • Christmas eve @ CCpur #2 : Gallery
  • Public Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Pui Thangamliu #2 :: eRang
  • Christmas Carol @ Lamphel : Gallery
  • Royal Crematorium at Bangkok #2 : Gallery
  • Christmas Carol at Namdulong : Gallery
  • General Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • 3rd Flower Festival @ Mao #2 : Gallery
  • Lafoi Shamda puthorkpa #1 : Gallery
  • Nupilal Ningsing Lamjen : Gallery
  • cYK_rb TwaI :: Seireng
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic