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The public library system in India: challenges and opportunities
Sardar Patel College of Engineering, University of Mumbai, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Purpose – The current situation of Indian public libraries has been viewed by some as follows: the public library system in India is condemned to remain peripheral to the actual information needs of the masses; that it is in a depressed state, and serves as little more than a warehouse of recreational reading materials, a majority of which are in regional languages. This paper suggests possible remedies on how to transform the situation, and details new technological developments which are already showing the potential to change public libraries in rural India for the better. Design/methodology/approach – A descriptive account of the contemporary situation in India with regard to public libraries, digital technologies and development possibilities, using ofﬁcial statistics and the LIS literature. Findings – The challenges that face public libraries in India are listed and a vision for their future based on the concept of “ICT for development” is sketched out. Research limitations/implications – It is difﬁcult to get an overall view of this topic: authorized statistics on public libraries in India as a whole are not collected, because these libraries are the responsibility of a variety of agencies who, for various reasons, never disclose such information on a national scale. Practical implications – The author details new technological developments, the practical outcome of which would in particular facilitate the establishment of digital library services in rural India. Originality/value – This paper provides a useful overview of a library scenario on which aggregated statistical data is hard to ﬁnd; and, from this summary of the present situation, goes on to suggest possible ways to transform the “digital divide” into “digital opportunities”. Keywords Public libraries, India, Rural economies, Economic development Paper type General review
Received February 2004 Reviewed April 2004 Revised August 2004 Accepted November 2004
Library Review Vol. 54 No. 3, 2005 pp. 180-191 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0024-2535 DOI 10.1108/00242530510588935
Introduction India can now claim to be the world’s largest democracy: its population growth has made it the second country in the world after China to cross the one billion mark. As its population grows, it is faced by enormous challenges in areas such as literacy and education, areas in which it has long been acknowledged that the public library has an indispensable role to play. This role accords with the deﬁnition in the UNESCO Public Library Manifesto (UNESCO, 2004), which declares that the public library is “the local gateway to knowledge, [and] provides a basic condition for lifelong learning, independent decision-making and cultural development of the individual and social groups”. In this vision of public libraries, they are seen as people-oriented institutions which should service the widest population possible.
However, public libraries in India are in an abject state. Possessing neither regularly renewed print collections nor vibrant non-print multimedia resources that could lure in illiterate or semi-literate folk, they suffer from a variety of infrastructure, manpower and monetary constraints, as well as being low in the priorities of policy makers and implementing bodies. At the same time as India’s expanding population looks for innovative support and services from its libraries, the country has emerged as one of the global leaders in information technology and one of the largest exporters of knowledge workers. In this digital era, the people of India should thus come to think of the public library not only as a champion of books and knowledge but as a major access point to the beneﬁts of the digital age. But again, as a developing country, the economic conditions for libraries and information centers are poor in this regard, especially by comparison with the developed world. On the one hand, there has been a signiﬁcant degree of implementation of automation and networking in special and academic libraries. But rural public libraries are almost wholly dependent on ﬁnancial support from central or state government for their collection development, infrastructure and human resources, and as a result planning for modern tools and IT facilities in public libraries has not taken place. Despite this, public libraries have a major role to play in bridging the “digital divide”. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have the capacity to open up new ways of interactive communication between the citizen, public libraries and civil society at large. But before this can happen, modernization and upgrading of public libraries in terms of ICT applications and also staff proﬁciency is required, with the view of meeting the informational, cultural and leisure needs of the underprivileged rural masses in order to increase the numbers of them who are registered library members. Current state of public libraries in India The state of public libraries varies between different parts of the country. In particular the condition of the majority of public libraries in rural areas is poor. Many of them do not have their own buildings, being located in no more than small thatched huts; or they have to share the premises of other institutions. Storage facilities are very poor and the stock of reading materials is small. According to the Constitution of India, public library development is a State responsibility. Therefore, all States are vested with the mandate to set up libraries at different levels within each State. But out of 29 States and 6 Union Territory Administrations, only 11 states have so far passed library legislation, enabling their respective state governments to provide a public library system. So, as a response to this variability in the level of development in the States, the Department of Culture of the Government of India has set up the Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF). It is intended to act as a nodal agency for development of public libraries in India and has also been given the responsibility for resource mobilization for modernization of the State and District central libraries, the development of infrastructure and training of personnel (Table I).
State Central libraries District libraries Taluka libraries Rural libraries 28 451 501 29,820
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Table I. Public library system in India
In consequence, there are now 28 State central libraries situated in different cities which are funded by the RRRLF. Presently the RRRLF is working to spread library services all over the country in active cooperation with State governments, Union Territory Administrations and voluntary organizations (NGOs) working in this ﬁeld. It is clear then that the public library scenario is not uniform in India. It is difﬁcult to collect authorized statistics on public libraries in the country, as they are under the responsibility of a variety of agencies who, for various reasons, never disclose such information on a national scale. This forces us to guess about the state of a vast number of public libraries, though it is not hard to imagine the difﬁculties they face in facilitating information and library support to the mass of over a billion population, spread over 32 lakh square kilometres, with a spectrum of literacy, intelligence, money, cultural and caste values. And just as States differ in size, population, literacy rate, status of books produced in the particular regional language, and economic growth, so does the public library system also differ from State to State. Also there are administrative problems such as the fact that rural libraries in some States form a part of the public library system and in some other States they came under the jurisdiction of the Adult Education Department or Public Relations Department. Wide-spread illiteracy is the greatest handicap for developing library services, both in certain urban and rural areas set in the traditional pattern. The RRRLF’s program of assistance is most helpful to the cause of public library services in the countryside. The program provides the best example of resource sharing of public library services at all levels and the Foundation has made great strides in promoting library service across the country. During the last 28 years, out of 60,000 public libraries scattered over the country, the Foundation has helped more than 31,000 libraries at different levels (Bhattacharjee, 2002). But a great number of these public libraries (of which approximately 70 per cent may be rural) are merely reading rooms with neither a generous supply of books, nor adequate infrastructure nor trained staff. According to the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) standards, there should be one public library for every 3,000 people. Thus, with over one billion people, India needs more than 343,000 public library units. India has around 568,558 inhabited villages and there may be just one public library for eight to ten of them. Yet one of the IFLA standards stipulates that the nearest library unit should not be more than a mile away from the residential area it serves. The discrepancy is clear. To summarise, the major constraints faced by the public library system which militate against effective dissemination of information are: . A considerable percentage of the population is illiterate or functionally literate making libraries of minimal use to them. . Poor resource allocation for infrastructure improvement and collection development for public libraries. . Lack of sufﬁcient sanctioned posts, forcing most services to be operated by voluntary non-professional staff, which damages information organization and services. . The problem of educated professionals preferring to work in special and academic libraries than public libraries. . Little emphasis on the adoption of information and communication technology for public library systems and services.
ICT driven public libraries – the need of the hour Libraries are the ideal place to offer public access to ICT resources as they are found in nearly every community and they are staffed by professionals whose job is to help people meet and manage their information needs. The public library can be understood as the public access point to the “Information highway”. If the government is serious about breaking down the digital divide it cannot ignore a sector that provides free public access to these services thus beﬁtting it for the role of major access point to the beneﬁts of the digital age. H.K. Kaul, Director of the Developing Library Network (DELNET), New Delhi, has opined that “Our public library system in the country failed totally in bringing knowledge to the doorsteps of every individual. It is advisable for us to look at the problem afresh, especially when the computer and communication technologies have now become available to us at a minimal cost” (Kaul, 2002). It is to be hoped that, with the help of the relevant technologies, public libraries will foster partnerships throughout the country to promote sharing of resources. People need to understand how to locate and evaluate the information sources available to them. The objective is to promote the free ﬂow of information and ideas in the interest of all citizens, thus creating a thriving culture, economy and democracy. ICT-driven public libraries should act as an intermediary centre with suitable awareness programs for improving literacy, awareness, welfare and cultural awakening (Figure 1). It is the intention that public libraries could offer a single integrated environment for the dissemination of information concerned with all aspects of human life. “Public libraries can act as an ofﬂine relay by downloading and sending network available information to those out of network reach, or by attracting people to nearby libraries to access [the] internet” (Miao, 1998).
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Figure 1. A proposed model of ICT-driven Public Library
The emergence of rural digital libraries in India The emergence of intranet-based “Gyandoot” digital libraries (DLs) in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh has changed the lives of its underprivileged rural communities. “Gyandoot” is a unique form of G2C (Government to citizen) DL activity which is intended to address the hardship imposed by transaction costs associated with government services. It connects 21 cyber cafes called “Soochanalayas” which provide services to about 10 to 15 “gram panchayats”, each of which consists of a group of 20-30 villages with aggregate populations of between 20,000 and 30,000 people. The Soochanalayas are located at block head quarters, haat bazaars and bus depots and also on the roadside where people normally travel. These cyber cafes are operated by a local operator called a Soochak, who is a local volunteer not a government person (Figure 2). Factors inhibiting the development of public libraries Access to ICT for many in India continues to be marginal due to the high cost of connectivity, which results in the exclusion of many from the emerging global information system. So despite advances in ICT, its beneﬁts have not reached the majority of the population, particularly the economically backward classes. The main reason why the public library movement has not yet reached take-off stage is paucity of funds, lack of prioritisation for it on the part of government, and absence of an integrated approach to social welfare and community development.
Figure 2. Government network infrastructure to support rural digital libraries
Lack of national policies promoting ICT as a tool for development The Government of India has started framing its IT policy but it may take time to put these policies into action. One thing is sure, early indications are that the involvement of public libraries is very small. It may be that there is concern about the inertia in the system and the huge investments which would be required to rejuvenate public libraries. But, because library IT creates a multidimensional service facility, ICT introduction here will beneﬁt the community in the long run, unlike many other single purpose service arms of the government. Political aspects We are living in a highly politicized time and democracy is a “numbers game” in which all political parties try to tailor their social commitments to suit their own interest groups. In many cases, high proﬁle decisions aim to woo a particular part of the electorate – they are taken with vested interests in mind and may not be for the beneﬁt of the people for whom the underlying policy has been designed. Linguistic and cultural diversity There are many languages in India, and even in one place more than one language may be spoken. Any information required might not be available in the language in which one is proﬁcient. We need fast and good translation mechanisms to get over this problem. Lack of resources constrain developing library services The need of the hour is the compulsory provision of free public library services. In the wake of the slogan “Education for All” follows the complementary battle cry of “Books for All”. As a consequence of making education a fundamental right, free, unhindered, easy access to books and libraries also becomes essential and should be ensured. In the case of public libraries resources should be sufﬁcient to cover print and non-print, text and pictorial, multimedia sources, ﬁlms, and so on to attract all types of persons in the vicinity. Inadequacy and problems in transfer of funds The funds required for undertaking developmental projects and forming consortia of public libraries need to be pooled from government, charitable societies, public trusts, and individual donations, as well as from subscription charges from the member libraries. However, this can be problematic, as Jagdish Arora, the national coordinator of Indian National Digital Library of Engineering Science and Technology (INDEST) Consortium has noted: “administrative problems are involved in transfer of funds from various participating libraries to the consortia” (Arora, 2001). Lack of a joined up approach Public library authorities must develop strong and sustainable working relationships with other information centres, special and academic libraries in the region in order to develop collaboration for promoting and modernizing public library services in the country.
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Possible solutions There are many challenges facing those committed to the implementation of ICT in public libraries in India, a country of one billion people where millions of Indians are connected to the internet but millions more are not yet even connected to electricity. Despite all of these daunting contrasts, the Government of India is convinced that ICT applications can help revolutionize life in rural regions for a minimum cost. Ofﬁcial guidelines Arun Shourie, Union Minister of IT and Telecommunications, India suggested the following four projects in his address to the World Summit on Information Society on 11 December 2003 in Geneva: (1) use of ICT to abolish illiteracy; (2) develop a universal networking language – so that a person in India can put his data or message on to the net in any of our 18 languages, and the machine translate it into this universal networking language; (3) bring text-to-voice and voice-to-text software to perfection for the print disabled (for further background, see also Williamson et al., 2001); (4) one of the severest impediments today that stops people availing themselves of the beneﬁts of the information society is the expense of laying a network infrastructure to their door step. We should complete research that would enable wireless signals to go to a signiﬁcant multiple of the 50/60 kilometers they traverse at present. It is high time for action, and with these clear guidelines for us to follow and implement we can see how public libraries can act as a “safety net” for those groups of people who otherwise might not have access to the networks. This would include low-income individuals, people in remote areas, and people who are not familiar with networking. The expectation should be that eventually everyone would be able to trawl the internet to ﬁnd the information they require for personal, social and economic development needs. Consolidation and expansion of the public libraries network It is acknowledged that government should take steps to provide public access to the internet, but it also should encourage the development, speciﬁcally in public libraries, of communication access centers that will play an important role in bridging the digital divide. There are proposals from the telecommunications ministry to open cyber-cafes – it would be a good idea to put them in public libraries wherever there is one in the vicinity. Public library authorities have a responsibility to ensure that library and information networks are as comprehensively available as other public utilities and provided at reasonable cost. The hope should be that the number of networked public libraries in our country will cross the one lakh mark within a couple of years and then reach the level as speciﬁed in the IFLA recommendations by the year 2020. Both existing and new libraries should have infrastructure that is at least capable of access to electronic information over national and international networks and to access local information in multiple formats. The social entrepreneurs who are actively working on ICT may, with the appropriate incentives, undertake pilot projects to connect rural villages to the internet and to the established rural public libraries network.
Work for target groups; collections of special materials; specialized information services The public library has to serve as a cultural and educational centre for the community in which it is located. In a developing country like India, public libraries should have a vigorous extension programme in order to make information more usable to their clientele. Public libraries have to play a direct role in local development – it cannot stop at just the mere technical processing of literature, some further manipulation may be needed. Speciﬁc information required by the public is beyond the reach of ordinary reference services. Public libraries also have to play a crucial role in both controlling and facilitating access to a growing number of local and remote electronic information resources and . . . “in guiding users to ﬁnd the most reliable and relevant information for their needs, what has been called as the librarian as knowledge navigator” (Shourie, 2003). Librarians working in public libraries can help people “navigate” through information. For example, by creating pathﬁnders and/or offer training sessions on how to use e-mail, search engines, or do word processing. They can also help people to develop and use new resources and forums: for example, if individuals wish to be more actively involved in an electronic medium, such as creating a public forum on local issues, librarians can help to get access to both local and remote resources. Second generation software allows portal building within a web site budget, opening up the possibility for librarians of their developing e-groups for inter-communication at different levels, and a variety of community portals. Access to health information through public libraries The days of a passive one-way relationship between doctor and patient are gone with the advent of initiatives such as the UK National Electronic Library for Health (NeLH), which opens up a one stop gateway to quality assured and up-to-date health information on the internet. Katy Lancaster has written that “the public library also has an important role to play in the provision of health information. People see libraries as familiar and accessible and as a reliable source of information” (Lancaster, 2003). During a pilot project electronic health information services were set up in public libraries in Birmingham and Hampshire. Although a variety of problems and barriers to effective use of the NeLH in public libraries were identiﬁed in the period of investigation between December 2001 and May 2002 (such as the levels of information provided, visual appearance, search facilities, the need for staff assistance and staff training), the initiative remains a valuable example of what can be achieved. Another relevant UK National Health Service (NHS) initiative would include the use of “touch screen” information kiosks located in health centres and libraries (Nicholas et al., 2002). The recommendations that have come out of these pilot projects may be used by public libraries in India, who should try to implement similar initiatives of their own for the beneﬁt of health professionals as well as patients. Such health-information initiatives are particularly vital, given that India has the largest number of HIV cases in the world. As of now approximately 5 million people are affected with this disease, and the ﬁgure could accelerate further if urgent action is not taken. Realizing the seriousness of the problem, public libraries have to serve as powerful agencies for creating awareness and dissemination of relevant information among the people of the country. The public library can support HIV/AIDS education services and prevention-based AIDS program by working to a clearly deﬁned concept of what the community needs in terms of information provision in this ﬁeld.
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E-learning through public libraries In a country like India e-learning now has great relevance, especially for extending higher education into new, previously neglected areas of its people. A large percentage of the target population is beyond the reach of formal education channels due to a variety of inherent weaknesses in the teaching system, including the lack of traditional educational infrastructure in many areas. E-learning initiatives may beneﬁt rural folk who leave formal education channels either due to lack of locally available facilities or due to other economic commitments. Public library as knowledge centre/multi purpose community centre As mentioned earlier public libraries are considered as “the local gateways to knowledge”. The Indian federal government has recently granted permission to educational institutions to set up and run community radio stations. This low cost technology can really reach out to the common people who are still battling poverty and illiteracy. The federal government has decided to give community broadcasting licenses to “Well established educational institutions or organizations recognized by central government or the state government” (Noronha, 2003). It is essential that government should allow public libraries across the country to set up similar facilities. Similarly, a number of knowledge centers (KC) have been established in our country. KnowNet is a virtual network for recognizing, evaluating and sharing local knowledge. It has created some simple and easy to use online resources to enable communities and individuals to take full advantage of the ICT revolution. The KnowNet initiative is a virtual help point that acts as a two-way communication system for extracting and hosting information on the net with its entire range of activities being carried out through the help of remote volunteers. These centers differ from ordinary libraries not just by name but also by function. KCs are making full use of computing and communication technology and repositioning themselves as learning centers. Public libraries in India should assume a similar function, emulating their role as knowledge servers by interfacing people and knowledge, consolidating information and networking global knowledge. So far, public libraries have not yet involved themselves fully in the knowledge revolution in this way. E-governance through public libraries Internationally, there is growing awareness of the capacity for ICT to transform the relationship between the State and the citizen (Grimshaw, 2003; Stoker, 2000; Nath, 2001). There are speciﬁc examples of such e-government initiatives in India also, which have implications for public library services. For example, the State Government of Kerala has deployed a project called Akshaya – the country’s largest rural wireless network (using wireless VINE technology) run by the gram Panchayats and offering e-governance and utility services to citizens of the State. Each Akshaya centre caters to between 1,000 and 1,500 households. Such centres have potential to be established within public libraries. This project will allow citizens to use a service called “Friends”. This is a single window distribution point for 35 services such as electricity bill payment, tax bills and university fees, and use of VOIP for making long distance calls. Services like online rural banking, online technology resource centres, e-enabled education centers, call center-assisted health care and e-post are in hand (Pasha, 2004).
The PRAGATI project of Pravara village of Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra aims to connect a hundred villages covering a population of more than 2.5 lakh with a wireless MAN solution (WMAN). It will empower rural populations, especially women, and improve quality of life: “[This]. . .program will help the villages in establishing local IT centers, dissemination of Information regarding Government schemes, marketing of Agricultural products, health care, education, agro-processing, economic development” (Pasha, 2002). As with the Akshaya project, this initiative shows as how there is potential to establish such local centres within public libraries. Education and training for staff Training is crucial in opening up online services for people using public libraries. Staff working in public libraries must be encouraged to attend continuing education programs and skill enhancement to use ICT technologies to the fullest extent in delivering public library services. Public libraries must be under the control of a full time library professional and they should get allowances and service conditions comparable to their counterparts in academic, research and special libraries. What is needed most is a competent librarian who can organize services in a balanced manner for all sections of the community served by the library. Developing national consortia for licensing and procurement Inter-library cooperation and coordination of resource-sharing is facilitated in the network environment – it is obviously easier for libraries to form consortia and share electronic information resources over networks. In India, Engineering Libraries have established the INDEST consortium (Arora, 2001), which is centrally funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), of the Government of India. This model can be transferred to the public library system, with the RRRLF central funding agency acting as a national coordinating body on behalf of public libraries with the aim of developing partnerships among public libraries and forming a national consortium across India. Conclusion There is much optimism about the potential beneﬁcial impact on society of public policy in relation to IT and to public libraries (Evald, 1996; Fors and Moreno, 2002; Yilmaz, 2002). Public libraries are often talked about as the possible solution to information poverty as they are in a position to provide free access to the internet for their communities. We look to them to promote the use of convergence technologies which reduce the disparity in knowledge distribution between rich and poor, educated and uneducated, rural and urban, men and women. Public libraries in India do have the potential to use new information and communication technologies to create online facilities and services which will further transform our lives. Although information and communication technologies in India were ﬁrst made a part of rural development in the 1980s, rural public libraries remained largely forgotten in the dissemination of information to rural populations. Moreover, IT policy formulated since the year 2000 has shown little interest in the development of rural libraries. This scenario needs to change: we the information professionals need to come forward and study the present system of operation and ﬁnd a better solution to transform straightforward reading rooms into an
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information/knowledge centre where people, weighed down by illiteracy or limited education, ﬁnd value. Edwards (2001) has rightly pointed out that, “Providing access to information has traditionally been about buildings, based around institutions offering services to onsite users. Building tomorrow’s libraries will not simply be a matter of installing rows of computers with internet access: our users will increasingly expect to be able to access material from where they live and work. Providing access will increasingly be about developing electronic information services such as internet portals and acting as a broker between content providers and remote users”. This is the challenge for public libraries in India today.
Notes 1. The population of India was 1,027,015,247 according to census of the year 2001. 2. Lakh ¼ 10 to the ﬁfth power, i.e. 100,000. 3. As background to this statement, it should be noted that a Chennai-based company has developed a language software package called “Shakti” and launched it as a viable bilingual application. It offers word processing, spreadsheet, e-mail, database management, and web authoring tools with additional options to switch to Tamil or Hindi from English at the click of a mouse. The application works with existing keywords and transliterates the text typed in English. Available at the web site: www.chennaikavigal.com/products.htm (accessed 19 December 2004). 4. KnowNet, available at the web site: www.knownet.org (accessed 19 December 2004). References Arora, J. (2001), “Indian National digital library in Engineering Science and Technology (INDEST): a proposal for strategic cooperation for consortia-based access to electronic resources”, International Information and Library Review, Vol. 33, pp. 149-65. Bhattacharjee, R. (2002), “Public library services in India: systems and deﬁciencies”, Proceedings of the 68th IFLA International Congress and Council, Glasgow, 1-9 August 2002, available at: www.iﬂa.org/VII/s8/annual/cr02-in.htm (accessed 19 December 2004). Edwards, C. (2001), “Global knowledge: a challenge for librarians”, IFLA Journal, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 65-9. Evald, P. (1996), “Information technology in Danish public libraries”, Program, Vol. 30 No. 2, pp. 121-31. Fors, M. and Moreno, A. (2002), “The beneﬁts and obstacles of implementing ICTs: strategies for development from a bottom up approach”, Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 54 No. 3, pp. 198-206. Grimshaw, A. (2003), “Records, document and content management in local Government: a look at the some of the latest e-government initiatives”, Information Management & Technology, January-March, pp. 14-20 and 31. Kaul, H.K. (2002), “Knowledge centres: the key to self employment and poverty alleviation”, Delnet Newsletter, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 17-18. Lancaster, K. (2003), “Patient empowerment”, Library and Information Update, Vol. 2 No. 3, pp. 36-7. Miao, Q. (1998), “To be or not to be: public libraries and the global knowledge revolution, (conference paper)”, Proceedings of the 64th IFLA International Congress and Council, available at: www.iﬂa.org/IV/iﬂa64/082-78e.htm (accessed 17 December 2004).
Nath, V. (2001), “Empowerment and governance through information and communication technologies: women’s perspective”, International Information and Library Review, Vol. 33, pp. 317-39. Nicholas, D. et al. (2002), “An evaluation of the use of NHS touch-screen health kiosks: a national study”, Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 54 No. 6, pp. 372-83. Noronha, F. (2003), “Community radio: too many obstacles”, Economic and Political Weekly, 26 April, pp. 1628-30. Pasha, A. (2002), “Wireless MAN for rural development”, Network Magazine, September, pp. 42-5. Pasha, A. (2004), “Akshaya for rural India”, Network Magazine, March, pp. 49-51. Shourie, A. (2003), “Information society: go beyond declarations”, Indian Express, 15 December, p. 7. Stoker, D. (2000), “Social exclusion, joined-up government, public libraries and the internet”, Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 53-5, Editorial. UNESCO (2004), The UNESCO Public Library Manifesto, available at: www.unesco.org/ webworld/libraries/manifestos/libraman.html (accessed 17 December 2004). Williamson, K. et al. (2001), “The role of the internet for people with disabilities: issues of access and equity for public libraries”, Australian Library Journal, May, pp. 157-74. Yilmaz, B. (2002), “Social change, industrialization and public libraries: a theoretical approach”, Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 54 No. 5, pp. 326-34. Further reading Sharma, A. and Yurcik, W. (2000), “The emergence of rural digital libraries in India: the Gyandoot digital library”, Proceedings of the ASIS Annual Conference (ASIS 2000), Chicago, IL November, available at: www.asis.org/Bulletin/May-01/sharmayurcik.html (accessed 17 December 2004).
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