President of India Smt. Droupadi Murmu to inaugurate unique "Festival of Libraries 2023" to to be organised by M/o Culture to Promote Development and Digitization of Libraries

azadi ka amrit mahotsav

President of India Smt. Droupadi Murmu will inaugurate the unique ‘Festival of Libraries 2023’, a two-day event to be held on  5th – 6th August 2023 at Hall No. 5 Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The Festival is being organised by the Union Ministry of Culture. The  Minister for Law and Justice(Independent Charge) and Minister of State for Culture,  and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal,  unveiled the schedule of, “Festival of Libraries” in New Delhi today. The Secretary Ministry of Culture, Shri Govind Mohan and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture Smt. Mugdha Sinha were also present on the occasion.

Vice President of India, Sh. Jagdeep Dhankhar will grace the Valedictory Ceremony of the event. The festival will also highlight iconic libraries from across the world in order to initiate a conversation on the modernization and digitization of libraries in India.

Addressing mediapersons, Sh. Arjun Ram Meghwal said, “The Festival of Libraries 2023 celebrates knowledge and imagination. Libraries preserve manuscripts and bridge the gap between history and the limitless future. Our digital library initiative breaks barriers, empowering all citizens with access to knowledge. Let’s celebrate with fervour, embracing the transformative power of libraries and the boundless opportunities that the One Nation, One Digital Library will give.”  The Minister further added that development of libraries will be our priority since libraries are an essential part of human-centric approach to development. Libraries in physical mode have occupied a place of pride in our country and we want to revive the reading culture among the people, he explained.  Shri Arjun ram Meghwal emphasised that we have to maintain a balance mix of physical and digital libraries and also create special corners  for senior citizens and divyangjan to enjoy reading within libraries.

On the occasion, Secretary Ministry of Culture, Shri Govind Mohan said that there is a deep connect between Libraries and Museums and there is also a need to have an appropriate mix of  physical and digital libraries , and both these issues will be discussed at length during the Festival. Libraries are essential to emotional and mental development  and therefore, it is important to revive reading habits among the people.  The  Festival of Libraries Delhi will kick off with a series of exciting launch events, exhibitions , and panel discussions. It will also introduce a special ranking system for libraries across India, encouraging healthy competition and progress in the library ecosystem, Sh Govind Mohan added.

Speaking on the occasion, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Mugdha Sinha said, “Libraries are the drawing rooms of the community, and while physical libraries continue to proliferate, as does publishing of books, visit to libraries and readership is on a decline. While the world of digital, social media and new-age technologies has made it easy to read from the comfort of homes and devices, libraries- with their rare books, manuscripts, and archives- will need to keep pace with their demanders  to reinvent and re-envision themselves with better infrastructure and other digital device facilities to enable them to mimic gardens in the way they are multi-functional egalitarian places easily accessible to all. It is with this in mind that the Festival of Libraries aims to explore the entire ecosystem of the libraries and how they can graduate from bare reading rooms to cultural hotspots.”

This festival is a part of the second phase of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ and is in line with the Prime Minister’s vision to foster the development and digitization of libraries and cultivate a culture of reading in India. The Festival of Libraries will serve as a platform to showcase iconic libraries from around the world, initiating a dialogue on the modernization and digitization of libraries. It aims to facilitate the formulation of action-oriented policies for the development of Model Libraries in India, right down to the village and community levels.

The festival will also mark the launch of a special ranking system for libraries across India, further promoting excellence and innovation in the library sector. The event will culminate with a valedictory function which will be graced by the Vice President of India, Sh. Jagdeep Dhankhar.

Noteworthy highlights include the launch of a crowd-sourced Directory of Libraries and the signing of a Tripartite MoU between three prominent libraries: Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library, Patna; Rampur Raza Library, Rampur; and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Arabic Persian Research Institute, Tonk, for long term collaborative events, commencement of celebration of 250 years of the Rampur Raza library, Launch of the Sassy Library Series with the plot based on Rampur Raza Library, and the release of a set of Cursive Writing Books in the 22 vernacular languages.

The Festival of Libraries is a unique event that aims to engage and inspire participants from the entire ecosystem of libraries. The festival will also see  the launch of new initiatives and publications.

The event will include roundtable discussions and panels where participants can explore library best practices from Indian states and libraries worldwide. There will be engaging conversations with organizers of literary festivals, young authors, publishing houses, and more. Special sessions will focus on schemes for libraries and their collections, including National Missions on Libraries Manuscripts and Archives.

Visitors will have the opportunity to experience 10 captivating exhibitions showcasing cartography, calligraphy, cursive writing, and tribal fonts and scripts. The digitization of archives, particularly private collections, will be discussed, and attendees can explore a remarkable exhibition featuring rare archival collections and illuminated manuscripts.

The festival will feature interactive drawing rooms with book-author sessions, digital displays, podcasts, and the Human Library Project. A dedicated Children’s Zone will provide hands-on activities to foster a love for reading among children.

The event aims to bring together stakeholders across the board, from librarians & academics to district collectors of 100 aspirational districts & directors of model libraries to develop a roadmap for encouraging Libraries to become the Drawing Rooms of the Community and for the Readers to emerge as future Leaders, in consonance with the spirit of a country that reads, is a country that leads.

The government’s National Mission on Libraries (NML) launched in 2014 further underscores its dedication to enhancing libraries across the country. This mission has a total budget of  Rs100 crore to develop model libraries, connect district libraries with digital networks, and prioritize libraries in economically backward districts.

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Source PIB