Right to library with special reference to public library in Manipur

S Muansangluai Ngaihte *

22nd Imphal Book fair 2013  at Hapta Kangjeibung ; organised by State Central Library, Imphal :: 17 December 2013
Imphal Book fair at Hapta Kangjeibung organised by State Central Library, Imphal in December 2013 :: Pix - Ashok Ningthoujam

Growth of Educational system and library are part and partial of building development in our society and for the nation as a whole. Without education there can be no development in the same manner without Library there can be no resource for imparting education. Taking into account of all symbiotic relation of educational system and Library there is a huge loop hole and imbalance pertaining to its growth and development in certain areas in this present era. Let us highlight some of the initiative taken by the Government in developing both education and its sub-class Library.


Realizing the Importance of Library since colonial era, in 1808, the Government of Bombay proposed to register libraries, which were to be given copies of books published from the "funds for the encouragement of literature" (Dutta, 1970, p. 100). Later on after independent, following the policy the Government of India since the inception of five year plan has taken a major part for the growth and development of educational system and Library: 1951-1956 (1st five year plan): The first five-year plan for educational development included a proposal for "Improvement of Library Service." This proposal envisioned a network of libraries throughout the country, coordinated by National Central Library at New Delhi (Planning Commission of India, (a), 1952)

During the first five-year plan, nine state governments, i.e. Assam, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Punjab, PEPSU, Rajasthan, Savarashtra, Bhopal, and Vindhya Pradesh, decided to set up State Central Libraries (Sharma, 1965).

1956-1961(2nd five year plan): At this time, the government allocated funds to set up a national network of libraries in its 320 districts. As a result, most states established State Central Libraries and District Libraries as the main distributing centers (Planning Commission India, 1956, p. 522)

1961-1966 (3rd five year plan): During this period, the system of central government assistance to the states was changed, and funding for libraries was kept to a minimum. Such deterioration occurs due to affliction of war (i.e. due to Indo-Sino and Indo-Pak war)

1969-1974 (4th five year plan): This plan proposed a substantial sum for the social education programme. A much lower sum was allocated (Thomas 1997, p. 30). Of this, only a very small amount was available for the development of libraries in the country. Another positive step taken by the Central Government was the establishment of the Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF) at Calcutta on May 22, 1972, as a part of the bicentenary celebrations of the birth of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, a social reformer of the early 19th century. Its objectives are library development in general and rural library development in particular, providing financial assistance to public libraries in the form of matching grants. It assists State Central Libraries and District Central Libraries, which has helped many states and Union Territories develop rural public library services. At present RRRLF are under the umbrella of ministry of youth and Cultural affairs GOI.

1974-1979 (5th Five Year Plan): This plan included measures to strengthen the buildings, collections, and staff of the central and state libraries, as well as strengthening the district, block, and village libraries. During this period, attempts were made to develop a district-level library system, so that district library could act as a leader for the smaller libraries in the district. The adult education programme was the hallmark of this plan. The programme was to be supported by a network of libraries at the village and block levels and various community centers. Thus steps were taken to strengthen not only the village and block libraries, but also the central, state libraries and the district libraries (Thomas 1997, p. 30)

Right to library

1980-85 (6th Five year Plan): This plan emphasized establishing a network of rural public libraries to sustain literacy and disseminate information to rural areas. It discussed the necessity of integrating school and college libraries with the system of public libraries. During this period, 26 states or union territories out of 31 (in 1982) had established state central libraries and 291 district libraries (Thomas 1997, p. 31).

1985-90 (7th Five Year plan): During this period, the Commission's objective was to address the needs of 90 million people in the Adult Education Programme. The network of libraries was to play a role in the development of literature for neo-literates. Library systems were to be strengthened, with specific attention given to improvement of facilities at national level institutions.

An important development was the 1986 adoption of National Literacy Mission, which emphasized the education of women and the establishment of rural libraries. In addition, the RRRLF set up an Integrated Research Cell-cum-Computer Unit for promoting research in librarianship and database of public libraries in the country (Planning Commission India 1991, p. 258)

1992-97(8th Five year Plan): During this period it was proposed to reorganize the Central Reference Library into the National Bibliographical and Documentation Centre, which would also have a computer centre. The Delhi Public Library set up two new libraries in its service area. RRRLF created programmes to help state central library's purchase reprographic equipment, to help libraries process rare books, and to give special assistance to networks of public libraries that were at least 100 years old (Planning Commission India, 1992).

1997-2002 (9th Five Year plan): During the 9th five year plan, the National Library, Kolkata, undertook several major initiatives to upgrade and modernize its collection building programme, reader services, and conservation of library material. Funds were provided to the Delhi Public Library and Central Secretariat Library, Delhi, for acquisition of new material in different languages and media as well as for modernizing their infrastructure (Planning Commission India 1997).

Tenth Five-Year Plan 2002-2007 (Action Plan): The Planning Commission proposed further modernization of central and public libraries during the Tenth Plan.

A national bibliographic database would be developed to encourage resource sharing, networking, and to improve reader services. The Commission resolved to strengthen public library infrastructure through the RRRLF.

After witnessing all the above initiative taken by the government for the growth and development of Library for the past Ten five year plan, putting a side of eleventh, twelfth five year plan, let us retrospect ourselves how far do we stand in our context.


The main current initiative taken by Government of India during the 11th Five year Plan was the Right to Education (RTE) for building Educational system at grass root level which is included as one of the fundamental rights under the Indian constitution which was amended on April 2010 and was integrated in article no. 21 (A) in our constitution.

The main motive of right to education is to provide free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of 6 to 14 which has now been guaranteed elementary education. In pursuance of RTE Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme has been implemented.

This shows that more than 1.1 million of children can have the opportunity of going to school free of cost in most part of the country. Free compulsory education provision of free uniform, books, and other basic infrastructure at school and the children back up by their parents have been attracted to school. By deliberately studying the condition of performance in our state in issuance under SSA programme we have seen positive impact too. And now our young talented TET qualified candidate in our state now has the opportunity to work as a teacher under SSA to impart quality education among the kids.

This programme will mitigate the unemployment issues in our state to some extent. More primary school, High Schools employees were set up under SSA, such result create more employments among the young educated youth who trained to become a government Teacher whether in full time or contract basis.


Right to Library are important as the Right to Education, it is our right to have well function public Library and undertaken by well salaried and well trained professional staff for imparting education. Do we ask ourselves sometimes, why Library sector is still lack behind in most of the main District of Manipur. This is the right of every citizen to for the cause, particularly our professionals.

Obtaining information or knowledge from schools or colleges is not sufficient enough.

It is the Right of every citizens to access Library and in the same manner it is the right of every library professional to expose and utilized their professional to acquire, organize, Retrospect and disseminate information and knowledge if tend to be well educated, for that purpose it is the Right of every citizens to have well established and well developed library in their own respective areas. Especially for those students' who are financially weak, may not be able to effort books to read, and have no sufficient space and amicable environment for study. Library has much role to play in such condition and this will enlighten the way of approaching in building quality education among the masses. The main responsibility lies here among the legislative body and among the professional too. Where is the Sinha commission? Where are all the beneficial of public library Act in our state which was enacted since 1988? Dr. Radhakrishnan stated that "Library is the heart of all School/University's/College's work". Lectures and tutorials must be supplemented by the Library.


Since, scheme for education and library development goes in synchronize form, We have witness that Library section still remain under plight condition even though more plan and budget were allocated in educational sector. There is a great confusion with our perception on Right to Education. If Right to education persists why there is no mandatory for the Right to established well function Library in every District. For learning something resource is mandatory without availability of temple of resource for learning how can we gain momentum towards advancement in education? Any educational institution or any society having no library is like a human having no heart and brain. RRRLF Foundation under Ministry of Youth and cultural affairs Government of Indian (GOI) have so far taken an initiative part in development and creating awareness with regards to library in our country and here MALA took an initiative part in our own state, but to be honest it's not sufficient enough.

The witness of development seems far ahead. If huge cores and cores of rupees were spent in education sector like SSA by the Government, why no such kind of scheme allocated for Temple of learning so called Library. A huge delay in development of library means education system in our country will remain handicapped.


If we have well function Library in the heart of our state capital Imphal, why each and every branches of our state i.e. at District level has no proper maintained and well function Library. If cores and cores of rupees were spent on educational sector why library sector is still under developed. Do our public representatives remain blind in this sector? This shows the trickledown theory in educational sector completely fail if both the public and our representative remain ignorant in building and developing library. Public libraries have always been the door to learning for a great majority of the populations that they serve. They are knowledge centers' and contribute to lifelong learning. For India, and Manipur in particular there are bumps in the road that leads to the goal of having an institution to serve the masses, which is even more imperative in the present information society, in a nation where 40 percent of the population is living below the poverty line.

A massive investment in public libraries is needed to make them true information resource centers for the layman.

* S Muansangluai Ngaihte @ Sangluai Paite wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on February 26, 2014

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