Public libraries continue to grow in the city as more funds are released by the government
India’s Ministry of Culture has increased spending on public libraries over the last four years from Rs. 78.02 crore in 2015-16 to Rs. 95.75 crore in 2017-18. And the estimate for 2018-19 is Rs. 109.18 crore.
There are 200 public libraries in Bangalore across 198 wards which have seen steady growth due to increased inflow of funds. Dr. Satishkumar S. Hosamani, Director, Department of Public Libraries, Government of Karnataka, said,” In State Central Library, Cubbon Park, alone there is footfall of 500 visitors per day. We added new books and renovated the infrastructure few months back with the help of government funds. But still, students have to reserve their place by keeping their bags because of the number of people that visit. We have received funds to construct another building to overcome the space crunch.”
He added additional funds of Rs. 300 crore are yet to be released by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
Public libraries in Jayanagar and Rajajinagar, too, see students frequent in large numbers.
C.S. Poornima, Deputy Director, City Central Library, Jayanagar, stated the library still needed revamping in terms of books for which the orders had been placed but that didn’t deter the large base of visitors.
Deepika, a Karnataka Administrative Services (KAS) aspirant who visits the library every day, said, “Preparing for competitive exams like KAS becomes easy as all the books and updated periodicals are available in one place. Also, the library has many old books which you don’t find easily elsewhere.”
Experts believe the future looks good for public libraries. Dr. Shubhangi Sharma, Executive Director, Indian Public Library Movement (IPLM), said, “The increase in allocation of money in the budget is a sign of very good progress for the cause of public libraries. A lot of development is ongoing. In fact, these libraries need more and Karnataka has been leading with an example compared to other Indian states. The notion that public libraries will disappear is wrong. We just need to refashion and redesign these to cater to knowledge-acquiring needs of people in the digital age. “
Rohan Charles Egbert, a bibliophile, explained, “The general notion that public libraries are becoming obsolete and will disappear in some time is not based on facts. As long as the government releases funding and maintains their infrastructure, the libraries will continue to see visitors.”