To highlight the iconic libraries from across the world, Union Ministry of Culture will be organising a unique festival, Festival of Libraries 2023, on August 5 & 6 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The festival will be inaugurated by President Droupadi Murmu. The idea behind holding this festival is to initiate a conversation on the modernisation and digitisation of libraries in India.
Significantly, a special ranking system for libraries across India to encourage healthy competition and progress in the library ecosystem will be introduced during the festival.
“The Festival of Libraries 2023 is to celebrate knowledge and imagination. Libraries preserve manuscripts and bridge the gap between history and the limitless future. Our digital library initiative breaks barriers, empowering all citizens with access to knowledge. Let’s celebrate with fervour, embracing the transformative power of libraries and the boundless opportunities that the One Nation, One Digital Library will give,” says Arjun Ram Meghwal, Union Minister of Culture.
The minister further adds that development of libraries is the top priority with the ministry since libraries are an essential part of human-centric approach to development. “Libraries in physical mode have occupied a place of pride in our country and we want to revive the reading culture among the people,” he says, adding that the idea is to maintain a healthy balance of physical and digital libraries as also also create special corners for senior citizens and divyangjan to enjoy reading within libraries.
It will showcase iconic libraries from around the world and facilitate the formulation of action-oriented policies for the development of Model Libraries in India, right down to the village and community levels. The festival will also mark the launch of a special ranking system for libraries across India, further promoting excellence and innovation in the library sector.
“There is a deep connect between Libraries and Museums and there is also a need to have an appropriate mix of physical and digital libraries, and both these issues will be discussed at length during the forthcoming festival,” says Govind Mohan, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, adding that since libraries are essential to emotional and mental development, it is important to revive reading habits among the people.
The Festival of Libraries 2023 will have a series of exhibitions and panel discussions. The festival will feature interactive drawing rooms with book-author sessions, digital displays, podcasts, and the Human Library Project. Noteworthy highlights include the launch of a crowd-sourced Directory of Libraries and the signing of a Tripartite MoU between three prominent libraries: Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library, Patna; Rampur Raza Library, Rampur; and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Arabic Persian Research Institute, Tonk, for long term collaborative events, commencement of celebration of 250 years of the Rampur Raza library, Launch of the Sassy Library Series with the plot based on Rampur Raza Library, and the release of a set of Cursive Writing Books in the 22 vernacular languages.
Visitors will have the opportunity to experience 10 captivating exhibitions showcasing cartography, calligraphy, cursive writing, and tribal fonts and scripts. The digitization of archives, particularly private collections, will be discussed, and attendees can explore a remarkable exhibition featuring rare archival collections and illuminated manuscripts.
A dedicated Children’s Zone will provide hands-on activities to foster a love for reading among children.
The event aims to bring together stakeholders across the board, from librarians & academics to district collectors of 100 aspirational districts & directors of model libraries to develop a roadmap for encouraging libraries to become the drawing rooms of the community and for the readers to emerge as future leaders, in consonance with the spirit – A country that reads, is a country that leads.