India’s best library now in Goa

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI

The 180-year old central library of Goa, now named after Konkani literature of 16th century Krishnadas Shama, is just not a new five-storied building but reflects a new philosophical outlook with hi-tech facilities.

The new library complex, which was inaugurated by chief minister Manohar Parrikar on 23 April, is perhaps the best library complex in India at this stage.

Designed by nationally renowned Goan architect Gerard D’Cunha, the building also has a sixth mezzanine floor dedicated to rare Portuguese books while its ground and underground floor houses Directorate of Art & Culture.

The most fascinating among all the features of this central library are the new modern facilities, making the job easy and comfortable.

Its censor-fitted doors simply do not allow anybody to take out any book, DVD or any other material without registering in the fully computerized system. The beep at the door simply embarrasses you.

The books are not delivered at the counter but at the self check-in and check-out kiosks which accept it electronically.

The library even has one such electronic drop box in the open lounge, where any member can drop the book even at odd hours, even when the library is closed.

Carlos Fernandes, the curator, says the book drop facility would also be made available at all its 145 libraries spread in the nook and corner of Goa; no need to come to Panaji to deliver it.

In fact the future plan is to network all the libraries so that book searching would be facilitated at village level rather than making special trip to the capital city just to find out whether it’s available in Panaji or any other library.

Equally fascinating is the ‘book lift’, through which any book could travel from any floor to the member after surfing through the intranet facility made available on computers on all the five floors.

Over 1.68 lakh books, including 236 brail books as well as 2746 e-journals and 1590 DVDs, are available for lending or references. But not a single cupboard is above the human height, making it fully airy and comfortable to move around.

In fact each floor has tables with chairs and even sofas on both sides at the glass walls to read and even discuss while viewing the Rua de Ourem creek as well as the mangroves.

The children’s section on the second floor in fact is the most thrilling experience, which even Parrikar felt like spending time at. The cupboards are colourful and the books are cuddled by teddy bears of different sizes.

There are 12 computers available for browsing and five television sets for viewing movies including 3D movies.

Adjoining this section is a 96-sitter AV room-cum-story telling room, even with a green room for dressing up and make up.

World’s biggest 105-inch television set is installed in this ‘dream room’ to watch even 3D films for 100 kids at a time.

Internet browsing however is just not the privilege of children. It has 51 PCs on the same floor exclusively for browsing while each floor also has PCs for other references.

Research is one area the central library has sincerely focused upon, with a treasure of 29,044 reference books, old newspapers and magazines, 461 microfilms as well as the whole world made available through internet surfing, besides laptop-connecting facility.

“We have made nine special cubicles available, including four closed-door rooms with internet and storing facility available, for research scholars on hire-out basis”, proudly says Prasad Lolayekar, the director of art & culture.

In addition, hi-tech machines are being hired for data imaging of any reference book as well as to print any rare book.

The special state of the art printing machine would compile the whole book, print it and provide a bound copy within no time, provided you pay for it.

Also it has a lecture hall with a hi-tech white board as well as a projector, with a sitting capacity of 100, for research activities like seminars, symposiums, lectures, screening and debates.

But the central library is just not for the ‘haves’, but also for the ‘have nots’.

There is a special study room with 13 cubicles, for those who can’t afford to study at home in a peaceful manner.

It includes those living in a congested house as well as those struggling youngsters who work during day time and study at night.

“This section would be open throughout the night for all the needy students”, states Lolayekar, who has meticulously designed the library even for the underprivileged; just not the privileged.

His next target is to make it the best library in the whole of Asia… (courtesy: Frederick Noronha

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Publishers to debate Indian book printing at London Book Fair

A panel of leading international publishers will discuss the changing face of the Indian book printing industry at the “Indian Noon” conference at next week’s London Book Fair.The panel, which will be moderated by Redwood Publishing group editor Dominic Mills, will discuss the benefits to publishers of offshore book printing as well as looking at printing and publishing trends on the sub-continent.

Random House divisional production director Neil Bradford, HarperCollins operations director David Murray and Baker & Taylor vice president for academic/educational merchandising and digital printing David Hetherington will form the panel.

Pramod Khera, executive director of Repro India, who will kick-start the event with an overview of the Indian book print industry, said it was important to the sector for Indian book printers to focus on boosting their export sales.

“The Indian book print exports are negligible, even to the English speaking countries. This needs to change and the only way of doing this is through increasing interactions between the stake holders”, he added.

The theme for the conference, which will be held in the Old Press Centre at Earls Court from 4-6pm on 16 April, is: Discover Indian Bookonomics – Ability, Affordability, Adaptability.

A selection of leading Indian book printers, including Gopsons Papers, International Print–o–Pac, Jayant Printery, Kalajyothi Process, Lovely Offset, Manipal Technologies, MultiVista Global, Nutech Print Services, Replika Press, Repro India and Thomson Press, will also participate in the event.

The objectives for the conference are: to present the strengths of India to publishers; to reveal the changing face of the Indian book printer; to discuss the fast growing Indian book market; to examine the challenges faced by the publishers in distributing content through various media; and to enable networking between buyers and media partners.

The idea for the “Indian Noon” conference was proposed during the inaugural National Book Printer’s Conference (NBPC), which was held at Thiruvanthapuram, India in November 2011.

The London Book Fair 2012 will be held between 16-18 April at Earls Court, London.