Chief Minister Sri Naveen Patnaik inaugurated NRO proposed Model Public Library in Berhampur, during the one-hundred-fiftieth celebration of Berhampur Municipal Corporation(BMC). Sri Patnaik also dedicated various development projects in Berhampur city along with the e-library nearby BMC.
The Information and Communication Technology(ICT) enabled model public library will function as a Resource Center, Information House and Community Center for all sections of the community and bridge the digital divide. The model library will not only provide the services of a typical traditional library, but also bring Internet and computing to grass root level to address the current socio-economic and educational need of the community. The library model is intended to be driven by the need of the direct beneficiaries, and the users.
The library will provide various services like
Internet Room that will provide “broadband internet” service to all. People will have access to the world of information like Youtube channel, Khan Academy videos, TED videos, audio/video educationals/informational lectures and many more. People can get informed and communicate around the world via e-mail, social media, and blogs easily whether for employment or for knowledge sharing or for connecting people.
Internet-Audio-Video enabled Community Hall for various community meetings, informational/educational seminars of common interest. Educational/informational movies can be broadcasted in the community hall. Remote video lectures can be organized for the community. There can be power point presentations by Govt. officials to bring awareness on various schemes of the Govt. There may be presentations by a doctor, a banker or a lecturer or an expert, or a teacher or an artist and the list can go on. The hall can host a storytelling session for the children or a seminar on specific topic or a skill development training, or a mentoring program for the youth.
Digital Content: The computers can provide access to various educational content around the world. There can be access to Microsoft Platform, Unix Platform, Microsoft Office, Adobe, digital books, digital magazines and various digital contents that would be helpful in gaining knowledge or help in employment.
Library Automation Service: All library resources will be managed efficiently by e-Granthalaya or similar software and will be helpful to understand the usage pattern of the direct beneficiaries so that library management would take necessary action for improvement
Reading Room will provide access to printed newspapers in Odia/Hindi/English, magazines, journals, employement news, and books to meet the educational need of children, youth, adults, students, and retired people.
Friends-of-library, a group of volunteers, will be an integral part of the library to support, advocate, promote the library in the community and help the library management to make the library more vibrant. They would help in fundraising for the library and bring awareness on the services being provided by the library.
Users Group, will be an integral part of the library who would represent the direct beneficiaries(users) across all sections of the community to build the need and demand for the library so that the library will be more user/beneficiary driven and be vibrant. They will provide direct input on the need of various services in the library, and be vigilant on effective and smooth operation of the library and work with friends-of-library, help conducting various educational information sessions, and educational activities.
The BMC authority will own, manage, operate the BMC building infrastructure and provide the minimum staffing like main librarian, attendant, and night watchman for day-to-day operations. The basic utilities like electricity, water supply etc. will be managed by the BMC.
Any additional expenses related to additional staffing, library activities that are essential to make the library vibrant will be managed and driven by “Friends-of-Library” and “Users-Group” under the guidance of BMC. The intent is to strengthen the “Friends-of-Library” and “Users-Group” who would play a vital role to make the library more community driven, attractive and help the library to be self-sustainable. Members donations, various organizations donation, fund raising, Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) fund,MPLAD fund are possible source of fund to make the library self sustainable.
The Odisha Society of the Americas(OSA) had funded 40 lakhs, proposed to repair, renovate, modernize pre-existing libraries and bring Information and Communication Technology(ICT) to grass root level to address the socio-economic and educational need of the community by establishing Model Libraries. One Urban Model Library was proposed in Ganjam Phailin affected area and two Rural Model Libraries were proposed in Balasore/Mayurbhanj for post Phailin flood affected area. It is the contribution of NROs in North America for Phailin, members proposal to support long term projects like educational infrastructure, and the impact of public libraries in developed countries, inspired the OSA public library committee to work on a special pilot project like “Model Public Libraries” in Phailin affected area of Odisha.
The OSA administration, and OSA Public Library Initiative(OPLI) committee have been working/pursuing since early 2014 with state administration, district administration, and BMC officials. BMC and OSA agreed/selected the current location at MKCG Research Library (MRL) as the most cost effective solution for establishing this model library as per OSA’s detailed proposal. The help from the local volunteers Sri Surya Narayan Padhy, Dr. BNR Subudhi, an eye specialist, and others, is commendable who have been consistently following for years selflessly on the library developments with BMC administration. The current DM Sri Prem Chandra Chaudhary, current BMC commissioner Sri Nikhil Pavan Kalyan, former commissioners Sri Sushant Mishra, Sri Manoj Mohanty, District Culture Officer Sri Anil Kelketa, Executive Engineer, and the BMC staffs, have been very supportive in making this model library a reality.
The OSA has been advocating, pursuing to have a “Well-integrated Public Library System” in Odisha and optimistic for a faster implementation after the last years cabinet approval of “Rules Notification for Odisha Public Library Act”. Internet enabled public libraries have been proven to be a cost efficient solution for community development, connect and empower people. Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) fund and MPLAD fund have some better potential alternatives to reach at grass root and bring sea change.