The Directorate of Library Services used to publish a subject wise selected list of Bengali Books to help the librarians to purchase books for their libraries. It has subsequently been decided to publish the list of all Bengali Books acquired under Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.
The Directorate of Library Services arranges for bulk purchase of books as a part of the Matching Programme with Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation with the help of Book Selection Committee as described in page no. - 95 According to the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, submission of newly written books in Press and Registration Office is an essential pre-requisite for selection of books by the Directorate.
Directorate of Library Services is now in a position to create database about different aspects of libraries and employees under the control of the Directorate. Besides that the Directorate has developed a database of Non Govt. and Non-Sponsored Libraries serving in different districts of West Bengal. Along with that the Directorate is now creating a database of rare books and manuscripts lying in the libraries under the control of this Directorate.
State Government has organised separate Career Guidance Centres in State Central Library, 26 Govt. and Govt. Sponsored District Libraries, 229 Town/Sub divisional Libraries and selected Rural Libraries. A special grant is being provided by the Government to these libraries for running these centres. The primary objective of the Career Guidance Centres is to help students and other youth in their pursuit of seeking employment or admission to professional courses.
An Annual Book Fair is held in every district during the winter months of November to February, to promote book readership and to provide a platform for book lovers and book sellers to come together. The Directorate of Library Services coordinates this event which is organized by the Local Library Authorities under the chairmanship of the respective District Magistrates.
The State Government conducts a Certificate course in Library Science for the students of North Bengal i.e. from Coochbehar, Jalpaiguri, Malda, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad area of Darjeeling and DGHC area of Darjeeling District at the People's(Janata) College, Kalimpong, Darjeeling. About 30 students complete the Certificate course in Library Science from this institution. The course was originally started to impart training to the non trained Librarians of Government Sponsored Libraries in North Bengal. Subsequently this training was extended for the fresh candidates as well. Till date 15 courses has been conducted from this Institution.
Besides this, the State Government has also conducted 4 (four) computer training programmes for the employees of District Libraries and offices of the District Library Officers with the financial assistance under Matching Scheme of State Govt. and Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF).
The Directorate of Library Services has initiated a programme regarding awareness of the members of the Local Library Authorities (LLA), members of the Managing Committees (MC) and Librarians of the Sponsored Libraries on the respective roles to be played by the said members towards maintenance & development of Government Sponsored Public Libraries in the districts. Since many members of the Local Library Authorities were new to office, this orientation was particularly beneficial.The District Library Officers has also organised district and sub-division level seminars towards meeting this objective .
C-DAC, Kolkata(an autonomous body created by Govt. of India) has been doing the work of digitisation of rare books under the scheme of Govt. of India. It has completed its work at State Central Library and is working at the Uttarpara Jaykrishna Public Library, Hoogly District Library, North Bengal State Library and also in two other district libraries.
The State Government has planned for automation of public libraries through the assistance of Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation. In the first phase, the State Central Library and all District libraries have been computerised. A wide area network has been established among the libraries. In the second phase, Town/ Sub-divisional Libraries have been provided with computers. These libraries will also be connected.
A West Bengal Public Library Network has been introduced with State Central Library and 26 District Libraries. The project of Public Library Network is of three fold nature:
a) Creation of Bibliographical database;
b) Creation of digital arch ive of rare books;
c) Community Information Service.
All these three components are available in a single portal, namely, www.banglargranthagar.gov.in . For sustainable development of the scheme a five year project has received administrative concurrence of the Finance Department with a fund of Rs. 1.97 crore in 2008-09 and Rs. 42.47 lakh in 2011-12. A high power committee has been entrusted for implementation of the programme.
West Bengal has a strong network of Public Library System comprising of 12 Government Libraries and 2479 Government Sponsored Libraries and also 7 other Government Aided Libraries. Apart from this system there are nearly 2500 non Govt. / non- sponsored Libraries in West Bengal.
State Central Library is working at the apex of the Library system and another three tiers are -
- District Libraries
- Town / Sub Division Libraries
- Rural / Primary Unit / Area Libraries
The Directorate of Library Services under the control of MEE & LS Department, is with the assistance of Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation , implementing a computerized networking system of the libraries in our State, keeping in mind the need to cater to the demands of a changing society and to disseminate information through electronic media with the objective of making public libraries a 'Knowledge Center'. Emphasised areas of this system are three fold -
(i) Creation of library catalogue.
(ii) Digital archive of rare books and Government publications
(iii) Community Information Service
A portal for the purpose has been created in the name of www.wbpublibnet. gov.in
Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation created in 1972 has been promoting activities like Construction of Library Buildings, Storage and Display of Books, Mobile Library Services and Organizing of Workshops/Seminars on Library matters under the Matching Grant Scheme equally funded by the State Govt. & Central Govt. Though the Scheme had a modest beginning, with the passage of time, the State Govt. in consultation with the Foundation has enhanced its contribution to effectively meet the fund requirements of the Govt. Sponsored Libraries. During 2007-08 and 2008-09 contribution from each side was Rs. 1.5 Crore. For Implementation of this Matching Grant Scheme of the RRRLF, there are two Committees:
i) West Bengal State Committee for Implementation of Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation Programme;
ii) Book Selection Committee.
Community Library cum Information Centers are being established in those Gram Panchayats only where there is neither a Govt. nor a Govt. Sponsored Library. In West Bengal there are 1640 Gram Panchayats out of 3362 which have no Govt. or a Govt. Sponsored Library. Community Library cum Information Centers are to be established by the Gram Panchayats under initiative of the Community. Accommodation is to be provided by the Community free of cost.
Govt. provides onetime non-recurring grant of Rs. 9000/- for purchase of Books and Furniture, yearly recurring grant of Rs. 6400/- for purchase of Books, Periodicals / Newspapers and other reading materials and yearly recurring grant of Rs. 9600/- for payment of Honorarium @ Rs. 800/- per month to the Community Library Organiser.
The centers remain open at least 3 hours a day on 5 days in a week including Saturday and Sunday as per convenience of the Community.
Subscriptions may be collected from the members and grants/donations may be received from Govt. / Local Bodies and General Public. No subscription can be realised from the Neo-Literates and Children Members below 16 years of age.
Those centers are looked after each by a Managing Committee consisting of:
-Pradhan or Upa-Pradhan of the respective Gram Panchayat, as Chairman
-One Teacher from the Local College or one Headmaster / Asstt. Headmaster / Asstt. Teacher from Higher Secondary /Secondary /Primary School.
-One Librarian/Library Asstt. of any Sponsored Library situated in the respective Panchayat Samiti Area.
-One local person representing in the interest of Literacy Movement or Scientific and Cultural activity.
-Gram Sebak attached to the respective Gram Panchayat.
-Community Library Organiser of the Centre, as Convener.
National Mission for Manuscripts has been constituted by the Govt. of India to survey, document, preserve and disseminate the manuscript wealth of the country. The Manuscript Library of the University of Calcutta has been designated as a Manuscript Resource Centre authorised to function for all activities related to Manuscripts in all districts of West Bengal. Calcutta University Manuscript Resource Centre in close liaison with the office of the Directorate of Library Services and other Govt. and Govt. Sponsored libraries has launched a statewide programme for creating awareness among various cross sections of the society and also for conducting survey of the manuscripts lying in different public libraries. Besides that the preservation work are going on in Uttarpara Jaykrishna Public Library, North Bengal State Library and in different district and other types of Libraries in West Bengal.
Manuscripts in different public libraries have not drawn serious due attention of the library employees mostly because of their ignorance in this regard. Conservation work from the part of Manuscript Library of the University of Calcutta starts with salvaging them from such state. The steps are dusting, cleaning, collecting the scattered folios in proper order, providing inner wrapping with acid-free paper and outer packing with starch-free red shaloo cloth and giving 3(three) identical identification numbers in layers for each piece of manuscript. Stacks are provided with insecticidal and fungicidal material (mostly indigenous and herbal). Finally an Accession Register and a Location Register with entries for each individual manuscripts are prepared.