Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pratham Books at India Public Libraries Conference 2015

Pratham Books was a participant at this year's India Public Libraries Conference (IPLC) held between 17th-19th  March 2015. Purvi Shah who was a speaker at the conference tells us more ...

Bringing the charm back to libraries. IPLC 2015

My first memory of a library goes back to my school where we had a big library full of aluminium cupboards and tons and tons of books. Every Friday we were allowed to take one book home. This was when I was introduced to the wonderful world of libraries and reading.

I also remember having to be very quiet and whispering as “Silence Please” placards seemed to dominate all the libraries from my first one to the one I visited during my MBA days. Therefore, the IPLC conference that I recently attended was a pleasant shock.

The recurring theme for almost all the sessions was “how do we make the library more exciting, more relevant for today's generation, can there be just one quiet corner in the library and the rest of it be seen as meeting public places. It was electrifying to hear some radical thinking around this.

There were many international speakers who spoke about how they transformed libraries in their countries and all of them said that libraries need to be seen as a place to socialize not just borrow books. Modern libraries should have training centres, digital libraries, places for meetings, small conferences, concerts, a children's corner etc. If you do have the time you can find some interesting ideas by Marie Ostergard ( Denmark), Niel MacInnes ( Manchester) and closer home, Arati Desai shared her experiences with the Nehru centre, Mumbai and Shashank Bhargava, an architect spoke about his experiences in re­designing a library in Sonepat.

I was on the panel for “E­-content and ICT enabled services for the future”. With me were Sarah Jaffe of Worldreader, Dr. C Kathiresan of Vikaspedia portal. Each had an interesting story to tell and you can hear it here.

Pratham Books was invited to speak about its upcoming open source story publishing platform “StoryWeaver”. StoryWeaver will give free access to a library of digitized stories and illustrations. These will be released under open licenses and will be Unicode complaint. The stories and illustrations will become a starting point for content creators to write new stories, upload illustrations, do real­time translations, convert content into digital formats, adapt readily available content to make it locally relevant. StoryWeaver could be every child's digital library.

You can watch Purvi's presentation below :
(P.S - If you are wondering why Purvi exclaims - "Nooo, not yet" in the middle of her presentation, it is only because the sessions were running late and everyone had to rush through their presentations because of time constraints.)

About IPLC 2015:

To discuss how public libraries can be regained as public places for seeking information and knowledge, for the first time in India, an international conference ­cum ­workshop on public libraries was organised.

The meet was a part of a comprehensive initiative launched by non­profit Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) and Developing Library Network (DELNET) with support from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to strengthen and upgrade public libraries in India along with a host of public library stakeholders and partners. The IPLC 2015 was inaugurated by Dr. Jitendra Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office, Government of India. The recommendations submitted after the conference can be founds here.

You can view all the speaker presentations here.
Additional reading : Collection of case studies (of libraries) from across India

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