“Come to your Library”: BLA Project for Promotion of Reading in West Bengal, IndiaRatnaBandyopadhyay, K.P.Majumder, Bithi Bose and PapriSengupta
BENGAL LIBRARY ASSOCIATION (BLA) established in 1925 Organizing library movement Creating library awareness Helping West Bengal (WB) government to implement policies for public libraries in WB. BLA took up this project as a part of their activities
RAJA RAMMOHAN ROY LIBRARY FOUNDATION (RRRLF) RRRLF , a central government organization was established in 1972 to support public library services in the country, to provide assistance to support library services and also promote library movement. RRRLF has given financial assistance to carry out this project.
BACKGROUND OF WEST BENGAL Total Population: more than 80 million Number of Districts: 19 Multilingual Population (about 120 languages) Bengali mother-tongue about 68 million Hindi “ “ about 5.7 million Nepali “ “ about 1.0 million Urdu “ “ about 1.6 million Over 40 different tribes with population about 4.5 million
PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM IN WEST BENGAL There are about 2800 public libraries and community libraries cum information centres(CLIC). Besides, there are about 2200 non government and non sponsored public libraries.
AIM OF THE PROJECT As it is found that reading is losing popularity the project attempts - To bring both users and non users of all ages and all communities to the library To encourage reading
6 LIBRARIES FROM 3 DISTRICTS Selected districts are : Howrah Kolkata South 24 Parganas 2 libraries each from 3 districts were selected
Selected Libraries Howrah Shibpur Public Library Friends Club Library Kolkata Granthasree Library Vivekananda Pathagar South 24 Parganas BarishaSahityaParishad Library Behala Town Library
SELECTED LIBRARIES : HOWRAH Shibpur Public Library , a non-govt,non- sponsored library established in 1874. Friends Club Library, a govt.sponsored town library established in 1901.
SELECTED LIBRARIES: KOLKATA Granthasree Library , a govt.sponsored primary unit library established in 1874. Vivekananda Pathagar, a govt. sponsored town library established in 1952.
SELECTED LIBRARIES : SOUTH 24 PARGANAS BarishaSahityaParishad Library, a govt. sponsored primary unit library established in 1918. Behala Town library, a govt. sponsored library established in 1903
USERS Children Young adults Students Senior citizens Professionals Homemakers
SOME OF THE MAIN CAUSES OF LESS USE OF LIBRARIES Increased Number of examinations at school and college levels School hours, tuition hours, library hours are not matching Need for non print media, internet facilities Group discussions on important topics, quiz programmes, debates etc are needed
ACTIVITIES Meeting with doctors, authors Literary discussions, discussion on local history Quiz programmes Debates Extempore speech competitions Recitation competitions Spelling competitions
ACTIVITIES Sit and draw competitions Celebration of International Mother Tongue Day, birthday of Swami Vivekananda, Saraswatipuja Science exhibition; paintings ,handicraft exhibition Book fair organization Felicitation who use the library most
Impact of Project Enrollment of new members increased by about 15% during this 6 month experimental initiative/pilot project Regular attendance has been increased by 17% Different sections of people are responding A patient with a psychological disorder asked for bibliotherapy help to cure herself A woman, about 75 years old, recited her own poems
We march on Impact has been very positive BLA can provide activity based refresher courses to librarians of public libraries Continue and work with other agencies/ organizations involved in spread of reading and education Extend this work in phases to all other public libraries
Acknowledgement Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF) for financial assistance Librarians , technical and non-technical staff and committee members of 6 selected libraries Participants Speakers And others whose encouragement made the project a success