Knowing where your nearest public library is located will soon be just a click away. A mobile app, ‘Public Library: Finding community librarie,s, was launched as a part of the first regional public library conference at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) on Tuesday.

The app, which is being launched as a pilot project, will initially cover 25 district libraries and will soon be scaled up to include all the 4,600 public libraries in the State. MSSRF, the International Network of Emerging Library Innovators and the Indian Public Library Movement are jointly working with public libraries across the State for the app.

With public libraries across Tamil Nadu becoming active centres for events ranging from story-telling for children, classes for civil services aspirants and even providing services such as soil testing for farmers nearby, the app will help make its users aware of what is happening in the libraries near them.

“We are also working on building a database of the books that each library has so that members can browse through them on the app. We plan to make this information available in phases,” said K. Srinivasan from the MSSRF, who is one of the app developers.

Literacy programme

M.A. Deepamala, a librarian from Vedapatti village in Coimbatore, said that they had been facilitating a literacy programme in their premises as well as medical awareness camps.

Speaking at the conference, School Education Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan said that with rural students having always depended on public libraries for civil services preparations, the government had announced the setting up of 32 coaching centres in district libraries across Tamil Nadu.

M.S. Swaminathan, founder of MSSRF, said that there was the need to make a stronger effort to bridge the knowledge gap and added that it could be done effectively through public libraries. A memorandum of understanding was also signed between V.C. Rameswaramurugan, Director of School Education and Director of Public Libraries, V. Selvam, Executive Director, MSSRF, and Shubhangi Sharma, Executive Director, IPLM towards redefining the role of public libraries as knowledge centres in India.

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