‘’I have renounced life. I read because one life is just not enough for me,” says Egyptian journalist, critic and poet Abbas Al Akkad.
In times of internet, the culture of visiting the treasure trove in Kashmir is unexpectedly rising. The study material and the steep shift in world to the digital space from conventional seems not influencing the readers to large extent.
“In our valley we have got two types of libraries institutional and public libraries, while the books in public libraries are gathering dust and are longing for readers as they haven’t evolved with time due to lack of resources and infrastructure due to governments negligence, but our institutional libraries especially in universities are keeping the culture of library reading alive and kicking as they seem to have evolved with changing times with catalogue of latest books journals, magazines and newspapers on offer,’’ says Zain-ul-Abideen Bandey who is an Assistant Professor in Political Science Department in Government Degree College Doda.
He said that these libraries are carving for space and the rush of students during day as well as night hours is amazing.
‘’These libraries remain open 24*7 for all readers irrespective of gender,” he says.
Take an example of our own Allama Iqbal library located in serene environs of University of Kashmir, a multi-storey building standing as an epitome of knowledge.
‘’Our university administration needs to be applauded for maintaining it as per demand of times, they have framed simple and flexible rules regarding admission to library even an outsider can avail library facility by submitting one-page form and small sum of money to get library membership for year,’’ said a research scholar adding that such is the rush in these libraries that people from far flung corners migrate to areas in and around university so that they can avail the benefits of libraries.
‘’Even many civil service aspirants make a group of three to four persons and spent their days and nights under one roof in library, were they can avail every facility from literature to availing internet facility.’’
In-charge Librarian Allama Iqbal Library Kashmir University, Dr Sumaira Nabi said the culture of studying in libraries among students, particularly the section belonging to university level is definitely very high. ‘’ From past few years it has shown a steep increase,” says the In-charge Librarian Allama Iqbal Library Kashmir University.’’
She said that there is something that motivates students to prefer libraries in times when knowledge resources are just click away. ‘’Answer seems to me hidden inside four walls of library, the learning environment which a library offers to a person is an ideal one with no match in universe.”
‘’The atmosphere that a library attracts people towards studying and compels a person to be a part of library culture. It is the culture where the real grooming takes place, which no doubt cultures “difference” in a person, says, Hikmatyar who used to spend 15 to 17 hours in the library from last 2 years.
“According to me, we the hostel resident students prefer to spend nights in libraries as we find it a place which offer us a perfect space for learning that we don’t find in our hostel rooms. The library offers us an ambience of pin drop silence , which is very much important for sound study,” says Malik Nisar student of Mass Communication and Journalism in Kashmir University.
“This culture of studying in Library has come handi in the struggle to achieve dreams for many students; they qualified IAS, KAS, State and National level exams,” says Syed Azhar Hashmi who recently qualified National Eligibility Test (NET).
He further said that many students among them are so much addicted to library that they carry lunch boxes with them.
“Personally, I feel the text from books leaves greater imprint on our brain for remembering rather than reading from LCD screen of laptops and smart phones. Also when you are in the company of good mentors under one roof one feels more freedom to discuss and share things with his pears,” says Dr Vinu Chief Librarian Dhanvantri Library University of Jammu
She said that time has come when our institutional libraries have to spread the message of importance of libraries in colleges by organizing seminars, symposium to motivate students who seldom visit libraries towards libraries.
“The library doesn’t have sufficient facilities still the students from the native and other institutions come to register themselves in order to avail the available facilities says. We have a specific slot for the scholars from other Universities, in which they are provided with an application form on provision of an official recommendation letter from their registered University.”