The West Bengal government on Friday said it will ensure that students of 50,000 schools, located within 1 km distance of any state-run library, will be able to get text and reference books from there by 2019.
At present students of 31,000 schools, located within the same distance of a state-run library, are availing this facility, Mass Education Extension & Library Services Minister Siddiqullah Chowdhury said.
This step has been popularising libraries among students and help economically disadvantaged ones in preparation of their studies, Chowdhury said at a function on the occasion of ‘Library Day’ here.
“In 2019, students of 50,000 schools, located within 1 km distance of a state library, will be able to get text-reference books. That is our aim,” the minister said.
The department would set up a ‘Chief Minister’s Corner’ within the State Central Library located in north Kolkata, he said.
Books and articles on the life and works of all chief ministers of West Bengal, past and present, will be kept.
There are 2,480 state-run or state-aided libraries in Bengal and the government wants to promote privately-run libraries, Chowdhury said.
West Bengal Minister for Public Health Engineering & for Panchayat and Rural Development Subrata Mukherjee said in the age of Internet and e-books, keeping the libraries afloat remained the biggest challenge.
West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Bandyopadhyay said he would ask the government to ask every school to allocate an hour during school time for library use by students.