A recent research conducted by Mallikarjun Dora and Dr. Vinayak Kishore, has unveiled a sobering truth about the state of Ahmedabad’s public libraries. Their study sheds light on the deteriorating conditions of these cultural institutions, prompting a pressing call for reformation.
The investigation of Mallikarjun Dora, Assistant Librarian at Vikram Sarabhai Library, IIM-Ahmedabad, and Dr. Vinayak Kishore, a public policy scholar and consultant, into Ahmedabad’s public libraries has exposed a concerning reality that many have overlooked. Beyond the stacks of books and serene reading corners, these institutions face challenges that hinder their ability to serve the community effectively. Among the key findings are:
Lack of Basic Amenities: Libraries are grappling with a shortage of comfortable seating, study tables, and private spaces, making it challenging for patrons to engage in focused reading or research.
Inadequate Space Management: Ahmedabad’s libraries struggle to cater to the diverse reading habits of their patrons. From scholarly research to casual newspaper reading, the available spaces often fall short of accommodating these varied needs.
However, Dora and Kishore’s vision for Ahmedabad’s public libraries extends beyond merely providing reading materials and improved infrastructure. They believe that a well-functioning library should be a pillar of the community, offering services and spaces that nurture not only literacy but also culture and community bonds.
This multifaceted role extends to providing comprehensive information about city events, encompassing everything from classical dance performances to engaging handicraft workshops. Moreover, these libraries should evolve into versatile community spaces where residents can gather not only to read and study but also to engage in vibrant brainstorming sessions and lively discussions, fostering a sense of collective learning and collaboration.
To achieve this transformation, the researchers emphasize the need for substantial upgrades in areas such as lighting, cleanliness, and air-conditioning. Additionally, they advocate for more targeted outreach initiatives to engage with a wider audience.
Collaboration is also a vital component in their vision. Libraries, including the iconic MJ Library and its affiliates, should actively partner with local educational institutions to extend their reach and relevance within the community.
In the pages of Dora and Kishore’s research lies a roadmap for Ahmedabad to transform its libraries into thriving cultural centers, where knowledge, community, and culture converge to enrich the lives of its residents. The question now is whether the city will embrace this opportunity to build a brighter future through the power of reading and shared ideas.