Library Scenario in India



His Highness Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III, Maharaja of Baroda, was a great visionary, who pioneered the development of Public Library System in India as early as 1910. He carefully devised a compulsory programme of mass education  in one district in 1893, and extended it to the entire State by 1907, and also made elementary education compulsory to all boys and girls in the State. His Highness also realized that universal education required,  a network of free public libraries, which would keep literacy alive, and enable men and women in rural areas to have access to the source of knowledge not hither to open to them.

The Maharaja insisted that “libraries should not limit their benefits to the few English knowing readers, but should see to it that their good work permeates through to the many”, and that “the vernacular libraries should be encouraged” so that every citizen of the State “may enroll himself as a pupil in the peoples’ university-the library”. With this noble idea he set up free public libraries in the State beginning from 1910.

For this purpose he established a separate Library Department with Mr. W. A.Borden as the first full time Director of State Libraries. The next step was to establish a Central Library at Baroda with a nucleus collection of 88,764 volumes which included the Maharaja’s private collection of about 20,000 books. A full time Curator of Libraries with a staff strength of around 50 were appointed to manage it.

It is mind-boggling to learn that even a century ago the Maharaja arranged to purchase a Photostat camera and a camera projector by the State. The projector was utilized to view the silent films etc. He also launched publication of a quarterly journal called Library Miscellany in English, Gujarati and Marathi with Shri J. S. Kodalkar as its first editor, started Library Associations from Taluk level, organized ‘Mitra Mandal’ (friendly groups in the libraries) in the town and village libraries and organized regular library conferences. Mobile library service was organized to cater to the book need at remote villages.

The Maharaja also established an Oriental Institute and Library with 6,846 printed books and 1,420 manuscripts in Sanskrit, Gujarati and other languages. He was the first to initiate the publication of Gaekwad’s Oriental Series in 1915.

This was the first public library system in the country. The successors of Gaekwad III had no interest in the public libraries programmes. Due to lack of royal patronage, the great public library system of Baroda gradually wore off. It again picked up only after the implementation of the Gujarat Public Libraries Act in 2001.


In India, there are 54,856 public libraries (Survey Report ORG-MARG) starting from English Colony Library at Chennai in 1661. There is no authentic survey over their growth and decay. Most of these public libraries were managed by voluntary organizations, and did not continue long due to lack of adequate financial support from the public. Presumably, almost 50% of such public libraries started by voluntary organization would close down after a period. Only those public libraries which are supported by public library legislation or State Government, through continuous grant-in-aid, are functioning. Before 1950, there were about 6000 public libraries in Andhra Pradesh State organization by NGOs. Now this figure has reduced to 3000 or less. The scenario may be identical in other states also.


India attained freedom in 1947 and became a Republic in 1950. To facilitate administrations, it now has a National Capital Region of Delhi, 28 States and 6 Union Territories after Independence. Even before Independence, Kolhapur Princely State, in the Western India passed Public Libraries Act in 1945.

1. 1948 Tamilnadu 9. 1993 Mizoram 10. 1993 Goa2. 1960 Andhra Pradesh 11. 2001 Odisha12. 2000 Gujarat3. 1965 Karnataka 13. 2005 Uttarakhand 4. 1967 Maharashtra 14. 2006 Rajasthan5. 1979 West Bengal 15. 2006 Uttar Pradesh6. 1988 Manipur Lakshadweep 200716. 2008 Bihar7. 1989 Haryana 17. 2009 Chattisgarh8. 1989 Kerala 18. 2009 Arunachal Pradesh

So far, only half of the States of the Indian Union have successfully passed the library legislation, However, in the coming few years, there is greater possibility for a library law being enacted in the remaining States. Out of these the enactment of Public Library Law at Puducherry State is in the forefront.


Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal served as prisons for life convicts, political prisoners and exiles during the British regime. On 1stNovember 1956, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were made a Union Territory. The capital, Port Blair, has two districts and an area of 8,249 sq km. The Hindu Library at Port Blair, stated in 1959, was converted into a State Library in 1974. The district library was established in Car Nicobar. The two districts are divided into seven educational zones. There are 13 zonal libraries, managed by a professional. The Mobile Library Service, a unit State Library was introduced in September, 2002 with the matching assistant of RRRLF. The Andaman and Nicobar Library Association formed in 1977, prepared the blue print for a public library system for the state and submitted it to the administrative authorities for approval.

As a result of the constant efforts of the Association, the government constituted the Andaman and Nicobar library Planning Committee in 1978. The present growth of public libraries is the outcome of the recommendations of this committee. Now the Association has taken up the work of library legislation.


The state Andhra was formed on 1st October, 1953, comprising of Telugu speaking areas of the erstwhile Madras Presidency. Later Andhra and Telangana areas merged as Andhra Pradesh State from 1st November 1956 under the States Reorganization Act of 1956. Its capital is Hyderabad and has 23 districts spread over an area of 2,75,045 sq km. When Andhra Pradesh was formed, the Madras Public Libraries Act of 1948 was in force in Andhra area and Hyderabad Public Libraries Act 1955 was in force in Telangana area. There were some operational difficulties in the administration of two different Acts on the same subject in the same State. So, both the Acts were amalgamated, modified, brought up to date, and passed as an integrated act i.e. Andhra Pradesh Public Libraries Act, 1960, which came into force from 1st April 1960, for entire Andhra Pradesh. A separate and independent directorate has been established in the year 1961. It is under the Administrative control of Hon’ble Minister of School Education of Primary Education. This act was later amended in 1964, 1969, 1987 and in 1989. Andhra Pradesh has a good Public Library system with State Central Library, Regional Libraries, District central Libraries and branches and a full time Director to control the system.


The State of Assam, situated in the north-east corner of India, has its capital in Dispur, Guwahati. It has 23 districts covering an area of 78,438 sq km. There is a State Library in Guwahati and District Libraries in all the Districts. The eighth All Assam Library Conference was held at Guwahati in 1964, and Dr S. R. Ranganathan was invited to the conference. In connection with the conference Dr S. R. Ranganathan prepared a draft of Public Library Bill for the State of Assam. The conference discussed the Bill at length and resolved to request the Government of Assam to have a Public Library Act enacted in order to integrate the library service, already available in the State, and to develop a public library system in the State. After the conference, the Assam

Library Association referred this Bill to the Government for consideration. Nothing has come of it as yet.


Part of the original North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) was reconstituted to form the Arunachal Pradesh State on 20th February 1987. Its population is predominantly tribal. Its capital is Itanagar, with 13 districts and an area of 3,743 sq km. After the formation of the State, in 1978 the Secretariat Library was converted into the State Central Library. Presently there are one State Central Library, its two branches, 16 District Libraries, 3 Divisional Libraries, 13 Sub-divisional Libraries, 26 Block Libraries and 30 Circle Libraries. Mobile library service was introduced in the capital city through automobile van. There are District Libraries in all district headquarters. However, there is no initiative for the Public Library Act so far.


Bihar was carved out as a separate province from the erstwhile Bihar and Orissa provinces in 1936. The Bihar Library Association was started in 1936.The Bihar Library Association was started in 1936. This Association organized the Bihar Library Conference in 1937. A Draft scheme for the development of libraries in Bihar was prepared by the Association. The Association submitted the scheme to the Government for further action. With the continuous efforts of reputed Library professionals of the State, Bihar Government passed the Public Libraries Act in 2008. Bihar has a State Library at Patna and district Libraries in all the districts.


The beautiful city of Chandigarh was built as the capital of the composite State of Punjab. Following the reorganization of the State on 1st November 1966, it was made a Union territory and the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana. There is a District Library in Chandigarh. Efforts for Library Legislation are not known.


This State was carved out from Madhya Pradesh State on 1st November 2000. Chattisgarh means 36 forts. There was a demand for a separate State from 1964. The major part of this area is backward and needs much development. It has 16 districts with an area of 1,35,200 sq km. Its capital is Raipur. District libraries were set up in all the districts by the erstwhile Madhya Pradesh State Administration. Although, the State has passed Public Libraries Act in 2008, it is yet to be implemented.


Nagar Haveli lies on the west coast and is surrounded by the States of Gujarat and Maharashtra. At the time of independence, these areas were under Portuguese rule. In 1954, the Portuguese were driven out and the areas came within the union of India. On 11th August 1961 it was formed into a Union Territory. The capital is Silvassa and the total areas are 491 sq km. Efforts for Library Legislation are not known.


Daman and Diu were under the Portuguese at the time of independence. They were liberated in 1961 and later attached to Goa under the Constitution (12thAmendment) Act, 1962. By the 57th Constitutional Amendment in 1987, they were separated from Goa and declared a Union Territory. Its capital is Daman and has two districts with territorial area of 112 sq km. There are two district libraries functioning in this Union Territory. Efforts for Library Legislation are not known.


The former Delhi State, now being called as National Capital Region of Delhi, is fortunate enough to have large number of public libraries, organized by voluntary organizations. Haridayal Municipal Library is the oldest one in the state started in 1862. It was renamed as Haridayal Public Library in 1970, after construction of a building. Marwari Public Library was founded in 1915. In the same year Raghumal Vedic Library was established. Fathepur Muslim Library was started in 1928 and Ramakrishna Mission established free public library in 1934.

In 1951 the Delhi Public Library, with a good system, was established by the Ministry of Education, Government of India in collaboration with UNESCO. Now it is being managed by Delhi Library Board. It has a Central Library, a zonal library at Sarojini Nagar, and three branches at Patel Nagar, Karol Bagh and Shahdara and sub-branches and community libraries at different places in the National Capital Region of Delhi. Efforts are being made for Library legislation from 1954. A Seminar, exclusively on Delhi Library Legislation, was organized by ILA and Ranganathan Research Circle (RRC) at New Delhi in connection with the birthday celebrations of Dr Ranganathan on 11th August 1996. Dr V. Venkatappaiah presented a lead paper entitled “Delhi Public Library and Information Services Act”. After few modifications by Professor Krishna Kumar and others, the Model Act was presented to the then Chief Minister, Delhi Government, by Professor P. N. Kaula. The Chief Minister assured that the needful would be done, but the legislation is yet to be implemented.


Goa had been a Portuguese colony for a long time. It was liberated in 1961 and made a Union Territory together with Daman and Diu. Goa became a separate state of the Indian Union on 30th May, 1987. Its capital is Panaji and has two districts with an area of 3,702 sq. km. The first public library in Goa named “Publican Libraia” was started in 1932. It was one of the oldest public libraries in India. After liberation, this library was converted into the Central Library, and expanded by providing all facilities. Five Taluk and 56 village libraries were opened under its ambit. Besides, the Government encouraged libraries maintained by voluntary organizations, of which the libraries of Saraswat Vidyapeeth, Panaji, Gomat Vidya Niketan Library, Margao City, Janata Vechanalaya, Vasco-da-Gama are noteworthy. The Government constituted the State Library Advisory Board in 1983 and appointed a subcommittee, for drafting the Library Bill and presenting it to the Government. The Library Bill was introduced by Shri Donvick Fernandes in the Assembly in 1993 and passed on 26th November 1993. It got the assent of the Governor on 29th July 1995.


The State of Gujarat was carved out from the old Bombay State on 1st May 1960 with the northern and eastern (predominantly Gujarati speaking) parts. It shares borders with Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The state has international border with Pakistan. The capital of Gujarat is Gandhinagar and the State has 25 districts commanding an area of 196,024 sq km. This State has a rich heritage of Public Library Movement. Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad of Baroda State was the pioneer of Public of Public Library Movement in India as early as 1910. After continuous efforts for a long time, Shri Monoharsinhji Jadeja, the Chairman, State Library Advisory Committee redrafted the Library Bill and submitted it to the Government. After perusal, this Bill was published in the Gazette on 28th December, 1977 and introduced in the Assembly by the Education Minister on 17th February 1978. Ultimately the Public Libraries Bill was passed in the year 2001 and implemented. Presently there are 263 Govt. Libraries and 4534 Grant-in-Aid libraries under the directorate of libraries besides 2 State Central Libraries.


The State of Haryana was carved of the State of Punjab on 1st November 1966. It is one of the smaller States of India and has 20 districts covering an area of 44,212 sq km. Even before legislation, the Government of Haryana through executive orders, started the State Central Library at Haryana in 1967 and district libraries in all the districts and municipal libraries in municipal towns. All these libraries are managed under the administrative control of Director of Higher Education. The public Library Act was passed in the state in 1989.


Surrounded by steep hills, Himachal Pradesh is situated in northern India. On 23rd January 1971, Himachal Pradesh was made a full-fledged State with Shimla as the capital. The State has 12 districts occupying 55,673 sq km. Shimla is the only city in the State. The Library movement in the State was started with the establishment of the State Central Library at Solan, followed by 11 district libraries. Realizing the importance of library legislation, a draft Library Bill was prepared. The unique feature of the Bill is that the academic libraries are also involved in the library system. The action taken by the Government of Himachal Pradesh on this Bill so far is not known.


The State of Jammu and Kashmir comprises 14 districts and has an area of 2,22,236 sq km. Shri Pratap Singh Library at Srinagar and Shri Rampur Singh Library at Jammu traditionally used to serve the needs of the public in the two towns. At present there are 14 district libraries having branches at Tahsil level. Considering that legislation is the only effective agent for development on sound lines, Professor P. N. Kaula drafted a Public Library Bill for Jammu and Kashmir State with development plan spanning 30 years, and presented it to Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, the then Chief Minister of Kashmir in 1950. But it could not produce any decisive action. In 1975, Government of Jammu and Kashmir appointed a Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr M. S. Randhava, ex Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, to examine the necessity of enacting the Public Library Act in the State. The committee drafted a Public Library Bill, which was submitted to the Government for further action. This bill is still pending with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir.


Jharkhand, which is as also called Purvanchal, is a new State carved out from composite Bihar State. It came into being on 15th November 2000, with Ranchi as its capital and with 24 revenue districts covering an area of 79,714 sq km. The District Libraries are already there in all the districts. Efforts are yet to be made for library legislation in this newly formed State.


The Mysore State was formed in 1956. On 1st November 1973 the name Mysore was changed to Karnataka. Karnataka was fortunate enough to have Dr S R Ranganathan, the doyen of library and information science, residing in Bengaluru. He initiated the establishment of the Mysore Library Association. This Association organized the Karnataka Library Conference in 1958, and passed a resolution to have library legislation in the State. The Association followed up the action vigorously and got the Bill passed in the Legislative Assembly on 22nd April 1965. Karnataka has many specialties under the Public Library System. There is a separate Public Technical Library in Peenya, which is the first of its kind in the country. It has State Central Library at the apex and26 City Central Libraries, 27 District Central Libraries and  Mobile Libraries, besides large number of other libraries.


The present state of Kerala was formed in 1956, and has 14 districts and occupies an area of 38,363 sq km. This State has earned the credit of having the highest literacy rate in India. The public libraries were established in the middle of the 19th century by enthusiastic young persons motivated by a spirit of social service. These libraries could not stand the test of time due to inadequate financial resources. Only a few libraries out of the many, which started in the last century, remain today. The Trivandrum Public Library was founded by Colonel Edward Condgon, British Resident of Tranvancore (the grandson of Sir Hans Sloane, founder of the British Museum). In 1829, during the reign of Shri Swaty Tirunal, Maharaja of Travancore. This library had its own building in 1847. The Kottayam Public Library was established in 1858, Ernakulam Public Library in 1870, and public libraries at Sugunaposhini Vayanasala, Vanchiyoor in 1884. All these libraries besides many other public libraries have been functioning in Kerala. Kerala Granthasala Sangham was founded in 1945, and it evolved, in a short span of time, into a very big cultural, social and educational platforms in the State having about 4000 libraries affiliated to it. Even before Library Legislation, the Sangham used to receive grant from the Government and in turn released the same to the public libraries in the State.

The Kerala Public Library Bill was placed before the Assembly in February 1989, and after much debate and a large number of amendments, the Bill was unanimously passed. After Legislation, Trivandrum Public Library was converted into State Central Library, and a State Library Council was established to control the system and release the grants.


Lakshadweep was made a Union Territory in 1956. The Central Library of Lakshadweep was originally situated in the State Secretariat. But its offshoots were established in almost all islands in the form of reading room-cum-libraries. Later, the Central Library was shifted to the headquarters at Kavaratti. Now the public Library service covers the entire territory. The Social Welfare wing of the Government manages the Union territory Public Libraries. ‘There is a Central Library Committee which is advisory in nature and consists of Governmental Officials.


The State of Madhya Pradesh was formed on 1st November 1956 with Bhopal as the state capital. It consists of 48 districts and has an area of 308,346 sq km. Besides the libraries maintained by voluntary organizations for a fairly long time, the government of Madhya Pradesh maintains Regional and District Libraries and assists the libraries at the Gram Panchayat level. The people of this State recognized the importance of library legislation long back. The draft Library Bill prepared by Dr Ranganathan for the then Central Province was submitted to Shri S. V. Gokhale, the then Education Minister in 1946. But no action resulted out of it. In 1968 the Seventeenth All India Library Conference was organized at Indore. The issue of the Library Bill was discussed in this conference, and it was resolved that the Madhya Pradesh Library Association would take up the issue of library legislation. As a result of this Dr G. D. Bhargava and Shri V.S. Moghe drafted a Library Bill and presented it, through the Association, to the Education Minister, Shri Jagadishnarain Avasthi. The Bill was processed in various departments, but could not yield results. The Association is still pursuing the matter in the Assembly.


The state came into being on 1st May 1960 after the division of Bombay Province into two. It is flanked on the west by the Arabian Sea. Its capital is Mumbai (earlier Bombay) and it has 51 districts, with an area of 307,713 sq km. In 1939, the Government of Bombay appointed a Committee, under the Chairmanship of Shri Fyzee, to look into Library Legislation. The committee submitted its report in 1940, but it could not be implemented till 1971 due to the outbreak of World War II (1939-1945). While implementing the report, the Government of Bombay appointed a Curator of Libraries to manage the affairs of public libraries. The Asiatic Society of Bombay, according to the report of the Fyzee Committee, was entrusted with the role of State Central Library, which established regional libraries at Pune, Dharwar and Ahmedabad.

Dharwar was transferred to Karnataka in 1960 and Ahmedabad to Gujarat. The Government of Maharashtra drafted the Public Libraries Bill on its own and it was passed in the Legislation Assembly on 17th November, 1967. The Asiatic Society handed over the Central Library to be run as a full-fledged State Central Library, by the Government of Maharashtra. In a phased manner the District Libraries, functioning under private managements are being marged into the Public Library System. Under the Act, there is a full fledged Directorate of Public Libraries to manage the system. Presently there are 1 State Central Library, 6 divisional Libraries, 1 reference library and 30 district libraries run by the Government besides 10730 Aided Libraries.


The state of Manipur was originally a Princely State. Its capital is Imphal and has nine districts covering an area of 22,327 sq km. The Imphal Public Library was started in 1938. A few other libraries have been rendering good service in the state. The Manipur Library Association was established in 1987 and was very active from its inception. It has created library awareness in the entire state. The Association drafted the Manipur Public Libraries Bill and got it introduced in the Legislative Assembly on 1st August 1988. It was passed unanimously subject to modification of some minor clauses. It has a State Library and district libraries in all the districts besides 120 NGOs run Club Libraries.


Meghalaya became a full-fledged State on 21st January 1972 after it was separated from Assam. With Shillong as the capital, it has seven districts and has seven districts and has an area of 22,429 sq km. The Government of Meghalaya was privileged to get State Central Library of erstwhile Assam in its share, because of its location at Shillong. The North Eastern Council was formed in 1972 with an objective of overall development of the region. It constituted an Advisory Committee on Libraries for suggesting the nature of the library services needed for the region. Experts from Meghalaya feel that the “enactment of library legislation is the best solution to ensure systematic development of public library network in the State,” but the Government is yet to consider the proposed.


In 1972, the Mizo Hills District was declared as a Union Territory and named as Mizoram. In 1987, it became a full-fledged state with eight districts covering an area of 21,081 sq km. The Government of Assam started a sub-divisional library at Aizwal in 1964. The State library was established at Aizal after the formation of Mizoram and two district libraries at Lunglei and Siha. The Young Mizo Association (YMA) and other voluntary organizations started the village libraries. The Government has been assisting these libraries by supplying books. The YMA provides staff, buildings, equipment to these village libraries. The Mizoram people realized the importance of Library Legislation. In 1980, the State Library prepared the draft of Mizoram Public Library Bill and submitted it to the Government for necessary action. The Government eventually passed Mizoram Public Library Act in 1993 and but yet to be implemented. Presently the Public Library System consists of 1 State Library, 5 District Libraries and 434 YMA Libraries.


The State of Nagaland comprises the former Naga Hills Districts of Assam and the Tuensang Frontier Division of the North East Frontier Agency (during British rule). It was made a centrally administrated area in 1957, a Union Territory and a full-fledged State in January 1961. On 1st December 1963. The State is bordered by Myanmar in the east, Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast, Assam in the north and west and Manipur in the south. Its capital is Kohima. It has eight districts covering an area of 16,579 sq km. District libraries are present in all the districts besides State Library at Kohima. Efforts are yet to be made for Library Legislation in this State.


Odisha has a significant historical background harping back to the reign of  the Kalinga Dynasty. It was made a province during British rule in 1936. With Independence, the Princely states in and around Odisha were merged into the State. Its capital is Bhubaneswar and it has 30 districts with an area of 1,55,707 sq km. Having a rich cultural tradition, Odisha had libraries from an early period. During the Fifth Five-year Plan, the Government of Orissa(then) started district libraries in all district headquarters. A new building was constructed for the State Central Library, named after Hare Krishna Mehatab, at Bhubaneswar During the seventh Plan period, proposal has been made to set up subdivisional libraries and local libraries. The Utkal Library Association, formed in 1944, played a great role in sprouting the seed of library legislation in Odisha. This association has submitted a draft of the Library Act on the floor of the Odisha Legislative Assembly as a private Bill, which was introduced in the House on 25th March 1988. The Government on Odisha constituted a high.


Puducherry was made a Union Territory and has a Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers with limited powers. Its capital is Puducherry it has four districts and covering an area of 492 sq km. The French Government ruled Puducherry for over three centuries. The first library was called the ‘Bibilotheque Publique’, which has now been rechristened as Rolland Library. It was started in Puducherry in 1827. A new building was constructed for it in 1974. It is the biggest public library in the state. Besides this, public libraries were set up at Kariakal and Mahe in1890. The Education Department of the Puducherry Government is now maintaining 64 Branch Libraries in rural areas. Two mobile libraries are functioning at Puducherry and Karaikal areas. In pursuance of the recommendation of the National Seminar on Library Legislation held in March, 2010 a draft Bill of Puducherry Public Library Act has been presented to the Government for consideration.


On 1st November 1956, the Princely States adjoining erstwhile Punjab were merged into the State. Its capital is Chandigarh and it has 17 districts and an area of 50,362 sq km. Punjab, the land of five rivers, is considered to be the most prosperous state of India with the highest per capita income. Apart from the Public Libraries started in Lahore, the erstwhile capital of Punjab, there were some other libraries which were started in the early part of the last century. There were Municipal Public Library, Patiala (1897), Motilal Nehru Public Library, Amritsar (1900), Municipal Public Library, Kapurthala (1904), among others. The Punjab Library Association started in 1916 rendered yeoman service towards the cause of the library movement in the State. After Independence, it’s Honorary Secretary, Shri G. L. Trehan, took an initiative and submitted a memorandum to the Government for enacting Public Library Legislation. Realizing the importance of this legislation, the local Government Department of Punjab drafted a Public Library Bill and submitted it to the law Department. It was transmitted, after scrutiny, to the Central Library Committee of the Punjab government for consideration. So far no action has been taken.


Rajasthan was formed by the merger of a number of Princely States in stages. It was formed on 1st November 1956. Its capital is Jaipur and it has 32 districts covering an area of 3,42,239 sq km. The Maharaja’s Public Library, Jaipur, was established in 1866. During 1866-72. Sir Frank Alexander, a British librarian, was invited to organize this library. There were many libraries in the Princely States. The Rajasthan Library Association was stated in 1962 under the guidance of Professor S. Bashiruddin. It established branches in all the divisions and districts headquarters. The Rajasthan Library Association drafted the Library Bill and submitted it to the

Government in 1965. After serious persuasion of the Association, Rajasthan Public Libraries Act was passed in 2006. It has a State Central Library, 7 Divisional Libraries, 33 District Libraries, 9 Tehsil Libraries and 228 Block level libraries.


Sikkim was a Princely State ruled by the Chogyal (King). It merged with the Indian Union and became the 22nd State from 26th April 1975 following the 38th Amendment of the Constitution. It shares a common border with Tibet in the north, Bhutan in the east and West Bengal in the south. Its capital is Gangtok and it has four districts covering an area of 7,096 sq km. There are District libraries in all the four districts. Attempts are yet to be made for library legislation in this State.


The name Tamil Nadu was adopted for this State on 14th January 1969. Its capital is Chennai and at present it has 31 districts, covering an area of 1,30,058 sq km. Dr S R Ranganathan, as the Librarian of the Madras University, first thought about library legislation in India as early as 1925 and succeeded in 1948. It was implemented with effect from April 1950 in the composite Madras State that consisted of 27 Districts out of which 12 were of Andhra. After implementation of this Act the Connemara Public Library was renamed as State Central Library. District Central Libraries were established in the districts, besides Branch Libraries. Directorate of Public Libraries was formed with full time Director to control the system.


Tripura was a Princely State before its accession to the Indian Union on 15thOctober 1949. It became a Union Territory on 1st November 1957 and on 21stJanuary 1972 it was made a full-fledged State. So far no effective efforts have been made for library legislation. It has a State Central Library named Birchandra State Central Library now housed in old Secretariat Building, 4 District Libraries, 10 Sub-divisional Libraries, 7 Block Libraries and 2 Rural Libraries.


This state has been carved out from the hill area of the state of Uttar Pradesh. There was a demand for a separate State right from the Karachi Congress held in 1928. This state has 13 districts with an area of 55,845 sq km. The Government felt the need of Library Legislation and passed an Act in 2005.


The present state of Uttar Pradesh was formed in 1956. Its capital is Lucknow and it has 70 districts with an area of 2,94,411 sq km. Uttar Pradesh is famous for its manuscript libraries. Manuscripts were collected and housed in the Rampur Library. The Allahabad Public Library was established in 1864. Carmicheal Library, Benaras, was set up in 1872, the Lyall Library and Reading Room were founded in Meerut in 1866, and a good number of public libraries were started and maintained by voluntary organizations. The Uttar Pradesh Library Association was founded in 1949. A Hospital Library service is being run at Lucknow and Kanpur under the auspices of the Association. Dr S R Ranganathan drafted the Uttar Pradesh Public Libraries Bill in 1949 and published it in the form of a book. Dr Sampurnanand, the then Education Minister, wrote the introduction for this book entitled "Library Development Plan" with a draft Library Bill for the United Province. The Bill was submitted to the Government and circulated to all the Members of the legislation assembly. Despite the Education Minister’s keenness in putting the Public Libraries Act into the statute book, his efforts did not materialize. Ultimately the Government issued an ordinance in 2006 for Library Legislation.


After many changes, the State of West Bengal in its present form came into existence from 1956. Its capital is Kolkata and it has 18 districts with and area of 88,752 sq km. Kumar Munindra Deb Roy Mahasay of Bansberia Raj, a pioneer of the Indian Library movement, was a lover of books and libraries. Who made modifications to the Model Act drafted by Dr S R Ranganathan to suit Bengal and tried to introduce it in the Assembly. Despite his efforts due to some clauses pertaining to finance,  he could not get the prior permission of the Viceroy and the Governor-General. The Bill was dropped for a while. The Bengal Library Association organized a State Conference in the year 1930 at Nabadwip, where Dr Ranganathan again drafted the Library Bill and appended it to his presidential address. The then Education Minister, Roy Harendranath Chowdhuri was favourable to the Bill. But due to some unknown reason, the Bill could not be put on the statute book even at that time. The Left Front came to power in West Bengal in 1977. They had assured in the election manifesto that the public library system would be developed through library legislation. The Bengal Library Association gave a draft of the Bill to the new Government. Shri Partha De, who later became the First Minister for Library Services of the State, personally took a lot of trouble in enacting the law. The Bengal Public Libraries Act was passed in the Assembly on 12th September 1979. Presently this State has a State Central Library at the apex, District Libraries and other libraries at a lower level. It has a Directorate of Libraries to manage the system.


The year 1972 is a significant year in the history of library movement in India. The country was celebrating the silver jubilee of independence. It was the bicentenary year of the birth of Raja Rammohun Roy, a pioneer social reformer who had stressed the need for modern education for the progress of the nation. The year was also being celebrated as an International Book Year with the slogan BOOKS FOR ALL. Emphasis was laid on promotion of reading habit among the masses for betterment of their lives. It was in this auspicious year that Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF) was established in May, 1972 by the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India to spread library services all over the country in cooperation with State Governments, Union Territory Administration and Organisation is working in the field.

The Foundation is an autonomous organization fully financed by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. It is registered under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act, 1961. The basic idea behind establishing the foundation was to take the library movement not only to small towns and villages but also to the remotest corner, in cooperation with the state governments, union territory administrations and other organizations engaged in the library service and mass education.

Some important objectives are:


  • To promote library movement in the country;
  • To enunciate a national library policy and to help build up a national library system;
  • To provide financial and technical assistance to libraries;
  • To provide financial assistance to organizations, regional or national, engaged in the promotion of library development;
  • To publish appropriate literature and to act as a clearing house of ideas and information on library development in India and abroad;
  • To promote research in problems of library development;
  • To advise the government on all matters pertaining to the library development in the country.

As ‘library service’ comes under the aegis of state governments, the Foundation has to function within the limited parameters of constitutional provisions. States vary in their size, population, literacy rate, production of literature in regional languages and library infrastructure. Sometimes unforeseen administrative procedures stand in the way of some states to assistance from the Foundation. Some states, such as, Tamil Nadu (1948), Andhra Pradesh (1960), Karnataka (1965), Maharashtra (1967), West Bengal (1979), Manipur (1988), Haryana (1989), Kerala (1989), Goa (1993), Mizoram (1993), Gujarat (2000), Odissa (2001), Uttarakhand (2005), Rajasthan (2006), Uttar Pradesh (2006), Lakshadweep (2007), Bihar (2008), Chhattisgarh (2009), Arunachal Pradesh (2009) have adopted library legislation and they have developed better infrastructure for library service. Library legislation adopted by the states is at different stages of implementation. Even without legislation, some state establish and sponsor libraries, while some others promote library service mainly through aided libraries and voluntary organizations. In some states, like Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan where library service is not available at the grass root level. The library service, at the initiative of the concerned state government has started in the schools for the rural mass. In Madhya Pradesh Rajiv Gandhi Siksha Mission is establishing Nodal Centres under its Continuing Education Programme where they are also rendering public library service for the rural clientele. There are also number of public libraries sponsored by some central government organizations viz. Nehru Yuvak Kendras, Jawahar Bal Bhavans, etc. With the limited resources at its disposal, the Foundation extends assistance to all types of organizations rendering library service.

Besides it being a funding body, the RRRLF also functions as a national agency for coordinating, monitoring and developing public library service in the country. The RRRLF is vested with the responsibility of promoting library movement in the country. One of the major initiatives in the promotion of library movement was introducing more and more library facilities for the benefit of the reading clienteles. In order to improve library facilities in the country, the RRRLF has adopted certain schemes of matching and nonmatching assistance.

The RRRLF works in close association and active cooperation with different State Govts. and Union Territory Administrations through a machinery called State Library Planning Committee (SLPC/SLC) set up in each state at the instance of the Foundation. To participate in RRRLF’s Programme, a State Government/ U.T. is required to contribute a certain amount fixed by the RRRLF.

Promotion of reading habit being the primary concern, the major share of assistance is allowed for increasing the book stock of libraries. Assistance is also rendered under different schemes towards construction of library building, and purchase of furniture, equipment, audio-visual materials and computer. In order to extend library facilities to the disadvantaged sections of the people, a scheme of assistance towards development of mobile library service and rural book centres was also introduced.

RRRLF has taken long strides in promoting library services in the country. With the expanded activity during the 10th Five Year Plan (2002-2007) the total Plan grant reaches Rs. 7863.52 lakhs against Rs. 3233.00 lakhs during the 9th Five Year Plan from the Govt. of India with an average annual plan grant @ Rs. 1373.60 lakhs and state contribution reaches Rs. 4295.98 lakhs against Rs. 1977.00 lakhs during the 9th Five Year Plan with an average annual contribution @ Rs. 646.360 lakhs.

The Foundation has taken long strides in promoting library services in the country during 11th Five Year Plan:

During the first year of the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012), the plan grant stepped up to Rs. 2419.12 lakhs including a special grant of Rs. 219.12 lakhs for North-Eastern states and contribution received from various state governments also reached Rs. 1212.37 lakhs. In the 2nd Year of the 11th Five Year Plan the Foundation received Rs. 3000.00 lakhs including a special grant of Rs. 350.00 lakhs for North-Eastern states and contribution received from various state governments also reached Rs. 1524.76 Lakhs. Consequently the amount of assistance rendered to the libraries during the 3rd year of the 11thFive Year Plan (2009-10) was Rs. 4814.39 lakhs and the Foundation received Rs. 3500.00 lakhs including a special grant of Rs. 350.00 Lakhs for North Eastern States and contribution received from various State Governments also reached Rs. 1650.89 lakhs. During the 4th year of the 11th Five-year plan the RRRLF had received Rs. 3500.00 lakh including a special grant of Rs. 350.00 lakh for North-Eastern states and contribution received form various state governments also reached Rs 2359.02 lakh. In 5th year of the 11th Five-Year Plan, Foundation has received Rs. 3200.00 Lakh under Plan, Rs. 300.00 Lakh for North-Eastern States and Rs. 50.00 Lakh for Tribal Sub-Plan as well as State/UT Contribution of Rs. 2245.38. Over the last thirty two years the Foundation has covered about a little over thirty-two thousand libraries at different levels.