Dr Giridhari's "Dynamic library service and trend of social revolution"
– A brief review -

Ch Ibohal Singh *

  Library at Manipur University (MU), Canchipur in October 2014
Library at Manipur University (MU), Canchipur in October 2014 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam

Books on Library and Information Science penned by regional writers from Manipur are very few. Some of the professionals have contributed books in the subject but the number is countable and not encouraging at all. Dr Naorem Giridhari Singh, a retired Librarian of RIMS, Imphal a well known personality among the library fraternity of the region has also contributed some books in the subject.

Here a brief review is being made on his recent book “Dynamic Library Service and Trend of Social Revolution”. Before actually coming to the task let me introduce him first.

In the history of library movement and development in North East India in general and Manipur in particular Dr Naorem Giridhari Singh has significantly contributed. Born on 15th January 1942 at Kakching Wairi and currently settled at Sagolband Tera, Dr Giridhari started his career as a Clerk in the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Manipur and superannuated as Senior Librarian from RIMS. After the superannuation he also served as Chief Librarian of JNIMS, Imphal.

Dr Giridhari Singh is a well known public figure among the library professionals. A National awardee of Indian Public Library Association for his significant contribution and service, Dr Giridhari occupies a specific place in the history of library movement of the region. He was the founding president of Manipur Library Association (MALA) and Ranganathan Society for Book Culture, Library and Informatic Studies (RAS), NE Chapter founding general secretary of All Manipur College Library Association (AMCOLA).

Besides, he was member of the Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF), Kolkata, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, member of Public Library Advisory Committee of Manipur State Kala Academy. As president of MALA he was instrumental in passing the Manipur Public Libraries Bill 1988 by the State Assembly on the 1st August 1988 and enacted on 9.6.1993 with the consent of the President of India.

As general secretary of AMCOLA, Dr Giridhari Singh was also very instrumental in the matter of granting UGC Pay Scales for the College Librarians in Manipur. Besides being the academic counselor of IGNOU during 2000-2007, he was also associated with the teaching programmes of the Department of Library and Information Science during 1986-1993. Since late 1980s he has been very actively participating in a number of library related programmes and activities as sponsor, organiser, advisor and observer till date.

He also has successfully conducted PRRLF Sponsored research project on the “Public Library Using Habit in NE Region”. Besides contributing more than 40 research articles Dr Giridhari also edited two books (a) Development of Libraries : Bridging Social Divide (b) Legislation Based Rural Library Service in India.

A sizeable number of articles in the areas of Moral education, Librarianship, Peace and harmony, Rural development, Cultural revolutions, Social change, etc have also been contributed in some leading dailies of the State from time to time. As his student I also edited a volume “Dynamics of Rural Librarianship in 21st Century” containing 21 essays in honour of him which was published by Lavent Books, Kolkata in 2017.

This Octogenarian and veteran library and Information Scientist, a son of the soil, has done a commendable job for the library professionals by contributing a new title “Dynamic Library Service and Trend of Social Revolution” which, as I observed, has been developed mostly based on his long experience in the field. The book published in 2022 by Yaibiren Communications has got a wider readership community and came out its second revised edition in 2024.

In his forward to the book, Prof N Rajmuhon Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Dhanamanjuri University has rightly said “The modest effort of Dr Naorem Giridhari Singh in this much awaited area is a welcome contribution”. The second edition of the book bears ISBN: 978-93-92498-05-3, contains XVIII + 190 Pages, 14 different small chapters, 9 annexures, author’s brief bio-data and Index.

It cost Rs 199 per copy. Front cover page is very attractive which has been designed by Athoiba Haobijam “Books bring knowledge to Man” written just below the title signifies many meanings. The well known quotation of Prof JH Shera “Knowledge is key to Human Civilization” impressed just below the logo of Open Book and Tree also throws light and is considered appropriate with the title of the book. In his preface to the book the author said “without well maintained network of all library systems, making knowledge reachable and penetrate into the soil, the development of the society will not be possible”.

Dr Giridhari also firmly believed in the words of Prof SR Ranganathan, the Father of Library Movement in India that “Development of a country or region is not an accident but it is due to the progress and development of libraries in the country or region” which is quite relevant in the context of the dynamic role to be played by libraries to bring social change or revolution.

In chapter 1 of the book, Need and Development of Libraries, exploring on the aspects of education and society, communication perspectives on knowledge culture and library, UNESCO’s vision of Public Libraries the author attempts to highlight the need for making library atmosphere at the grassroots level, readership aspects and reading habits, role of public library system in education and other development aspects giving thrust on rural libraries and issues pertaining to their development.

Chapter 2 of the book deals with the need for development of rural library service to create wellness of rural community with the expectation that the process would play a significant role in bridging the social divide. How far reading influences education and social change in the modern life has been briefly pointed out in Chapter 3. Though very brief, Chapter 4 is an important one wherein the author traces the origin of library in Manipur during ancient and medieval period.

Chapter 5 and 6 are the most contributing chapters of the book. While small chapter 5 signifies the role of library in the developmental process of the society chapter 6 comprehensively narrates the aims and objectives of library systems giving due reference to the context of Manipur focusing on academic and special types of libraries. Many facts of the different libraries of these types are found to explore by the author in the Chapter.

A general account of organization and management of libraries has been given in Chapter 7 of the work. Towards popularisation of library services and activities, in this chapter, the author has also highlighted on the organization of extension services in libraries. Rural libraries have been playing a vital role in serving the rural information needs. The same also contributes towards bringing social revolution.

Chapter 8 of the book has extensively taken into account the matter giving due focus in the context of Manipur exploring the role of rural library, structure of state public library system, role of RRRLF, etc. The author also proposed in the chapter to give more emphasis for the development of rural libraries in North East India. Library associations play a crucial role in the movement and development of libraries. It is a universal truth, as agreed upon by the library fraternity, academicians, intellectuals and social workers.

Giving the role of such associations towards awakening and movement of libraries in India in brief, the chapter discusses the context in Manipur analysing the role and activities of MALA, AMCOLA, RAS, NE Chapter The contribution of the Library Science education by Manipur University has also been considered as a milestone in the history of library movement in the State. Growth and development of libraries in Manipur has also been detailed.

Networking and modernization of libraries are basics to fulfill the needs of the users community in one side and sustainability of the library in other side. In this context Chapter 10 of the book highlighted the proposal for Manipur Library Network (MALINET) to implement in Manipur. Chapter 11 of the same also insisted on general perspective on modernization and automation of library. Library should be considered as an important component in every household to meet day to day and casual needs.

Basically small but a home library plays a unique role in meeting needs of the family members. In this regard, Chapter 12 of the book also throws light on the maintenance of home library. We are approaching towards a knowledge based society. Emergence of National Knowledge Commission (NKC) in India has given impact in enhanced access to knowledge resources. The overview given on that in Chapter 13 of the book is an added feature.

In the concluding part of the book the author suggested some fundamental points towards having a sound and conducive atmosphere in the society with dynamic role of library systems and their services to bring social revolution. In this regard the role of authorities, NGOs, funding agencies, schools, colleges, etc has been called for to be very proactive.

The need for implementing the long pending “the Manipur Public Libraries Act, 1988” has been emphasized upon. The annexures appended in the book provide valuable sources for references on many aspects. The index provided at the end which was not in the first edition, has valued the book more.

By and large, it is a new addition to the stock of Library and Information Science. The book will serve the needs for the students, scholars, teachers, social workers, policy makers, etc. It is a valuable contribution from a retired aged professional in the field with a taste of spiritualism to bring social revolution.

* Ch Ibohal Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The reviewer can be reached at cisingh(AT)manipuruniv(DOT)ac(DOT)in
This article was webcasted on May 11 2024.

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