The Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) in Karnataka, under its ambitious revitalisation programme for rural libraries, has streamlined the functioning of 5,700 libraries and brought them under the governance and supervision of respective gram panchayats across the State.
Around 4,675 libraries have been renovated already and over 300 new gram panchayat libraries have been established. The aim was to digitise all existing libraries and about 5,063 of the total 5,700 libraries have already been digitised as of now, said a statement from RDPR on Saturday.
The department introduced several initiatives to draw more readers/subscribers and also to improve library engagement, especially children. Some of these campaigns include: Oduva Belaku (The Light of Reading), Ammanigagi Ondu Pustaka (A book for my mother), Chaduranga Adona (Chess games), Chinnara Chittara, and Gatti Odu Abhiyana (Read Aloud Campaign). Also summer camps in collaboration with various NGOs were also being held, resulting in over 41 lakh children taking up membership in these rural libraries.
The primary aim of this initiative is to inculcate a greater love for reading among children, as per the statement. Also, to foster equity and inclusivity, the department has also introduced “Beacon libraries” for Persons with Disabilities. Some 526 libraries in the state have been upgraded as beacon libraries.