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Rural Libraries, Village Knowledge Centre (VKC) and concept of Rural Libraries and knowledge Centre (RLKC)

Bishnu Prasad Upadhaya Principal, Ghanakanta Baruah College

A library is not a building stacked with books it is a repository and source of information and ideas, a place for learning and enquiry, and for the generation of thought and the creation of new knowledge. Public libraries in particular have the potential to bridge the gap between the information poor and the information rich by ensuring that people from all sectors and settings of society and the economy across India have easy access to knowledge they seek.pp-5NKC libraries. At the inception of the Knowledge Commissions work in 2005, the Prime Minister pointed to the key role that public libraries can play as an extremely important element of the foundation of a knowledge economy. It is obvious that knowledge economy without knowledge society is impossible. Developing rural areas possessing excellence in the educational system, formal and non formal so as to meet the knowledge challenges of present era. Increase in rural India's competitive advantage in fields of knowledge, Economy and administration so as we can have our rural areas bestowed with urban facilities without disturbing the nature and ecology are dreams that we have been dreamt since long ago. At present day scenario Libraries are Gateways to bigger world for rural masses through Knowledge fulfilling the dream we are dreaming of. Knowledge has its great impact on the structural development of a society either it be rural or urban; past present or future. I feel it greatly stunned knowing that Mahapurusha Shankar Dev was fully aware of it. Up till his time our society was not this much fragmented, neither the vapour of communalism was poisoned as today. Dharma was not preached for the sake of religion only nor had Shankar Deva done it only for expanding Vaisnavism. Through preaching Vaishnavite philosophy he had in fact developed Village Knolowdge centres throughout Assam and some other parts of India. During the period Namghars and Satras were not only the centre for learning and disseminating Knowledge but also the repository of knowledge of the society as per the social structure. Therefore during that period the socioeconomic scenario of Assam was not worse than that of the other part of India. At that stage no person from Assam was language handicap in other parts of present India as we face at this stage of modern era. It is only because slowly after Shankar Deva we have hardly given any importance to Satras and Namghars as centrtes of repository of knowledge and learning. Similar is the situation if we

study the case of Mandirs and others. That is we got a lot in heritage but lost all the vitality due to the wrong perceptional management as the so called modernism crept in. That is the culture of Rural Library in Assam is not a new concept. We got it in heritage. But let them to become Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. With the time our social structure under gone vast changes. Religious institution at present day situation can hardly serve as repository and disseminator present day requirement of knowledge. In India all most all the panchayts are multi religious. This creates importance of rural library as avenues for knowledge society. The responsibility of rural development in India rests on the Department of Rural Development under the Ministry of Rural Development Government of India. The department defining aspiration states that its VISION is Sustainable and inclusive growth of rural India and MISSION is Sustainable and inclusive growth of rural India through a multi pronged strategy for eradication of poverty by increasing livelihood opportunities, providing social safety net and developing infrastructure for growth and improvement of quality of life in rural India. Here it is to be noted that there can hardly be any net quality of life without having up to the mark knowledge facilities. It was known to our planner. So, our Ministry of Rural Development has Scheme for Village Knowledge Centre (VKC). Here I remember a instance where one district officer of Agriculture Department said, Since we are here whats the necessity of Krishi Vikash Kendra?. We hope such ethos will be changed, otherwise VKC may not prove to be very good for rural society and Rural Libraries in future since as to the definition of NKC libraries are also knowledge centre. The objective of VKC Scheme of government of India states that the VKC programme is meant for reaching the benefits of the Information Technology directly to the communities at the grass root level for promoting single window delivery of need-based services relating to the life cycle needs of rural population, viz. rain water harvesting, nutritional information including primary processing of fruits and vegetables, rural sanitation, preventive and curative aspects of health and hygiene, skill development and linkage with market requirements and demands, capacity building among village based organisations and people or on any issue that the rural communities would desire. The government has shown firm commitment to improve the e-infrastructure for dissemination of knowledge especially in the villages, through its National eGovernance Plan. The eFacilities and stakeholder as mentioned for VKC are also almost similar to that of required for a modern rural library. India is a country of vast rural population. Foundationally the nation has basics of its political, cultural or Economic sphere in rural areas. Knowledge leadership is the still awaiting factor for which panchayeti Raj yet to run with its fuller level of fruition. Therefore the rural library has important avenues for working in favor of nation by providing better service to its own rural stakeholder. To promote the use

of knowledge capabilities in making local government particularly the Panchayets an effective, transparent and accountable service provider to the citizen, and promote widespread sharing of knowledge to maximize public benefit. We can create Library Consortium, the metaphor of which is adhered there in the conception of Village Knowledge Centre with a central studio to disseminate the required knowledge. There can be no limitation on the desire of knowledge. Since both the institutions i.e. VKC and Rural Libraries have to shoulder similar job of knowledge dissemination; so, it is viewed by this study is that where Rural library with dependable set of stakeholder exist, the responsibility of VKC is to be entrusted on the library providing existing facilities viz. manpower and other. In areas where no Rural Library exist VKCs are to be established so as it fulfills all the amenities of a library. Of course, provision of at least one post for a graduate in Library and Information Science is to be created. This definitely will reduce the gap between the knowledge rich and Knowledge poor which in turn open the gate and can show the right way for the rural students to reach the climax of globalization. Perhaps this is not only the measure to arrest the decay of rural libraries but also would be the proper utilization of funds meant for Rural Development through VKCs. This will also increase the stakeholder base for Rural or Village Libraries and knowledge Centre (RLKC) growing continuously as living organism fulfilling the fifth principles of father of library and information Science S. R. Swami Nathan that Library is a Growing Organism.
Dr. R.K. Bhatt(2011): Relevance of Ranganathan's Laws of Library Science in Library Marketing;Library Philosophy and Practice 2011 ISSN 1522-0222http://unllib.unl.edu/LPP/. Rajani Kanta Barman, Pranjit Kumar Thakuria(2010): Re-engineering of Systems and Services of Selected Technical Institute Libraries in Assam: A Qualitative Study; 7th Convention PLANNER, Tezpur University, Assam February 18-20, 2010; INFLIBNET Centre, Ahmedabad. Elizabeth Daley(2003): Expanding The concept of Literacy; A paper delivered at the 2002 Aspen Symposium of the forum for the future of the Higher education. Published in EDUCAUSE review in March/April 2oo3

Sam pitroda(2007):Libraries: Gateways to Knowledge; National Knowledge Commission Report.


Scheme of Village Knowledge Centre: http://capart.nic.in/scheme/vrc.pdf