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National Library hubs in metros

Calcutta, March 6: National Library is reaching out to book lovers across the country.

The library will soon open hubs in metros and other cities for bibliophiles to scan its catalogue online and order books or photocopies.

“The books and the photocopies will be delivered to them against a nominal postal fee,” library director K.K. Banerjee told The Telegraph.

According to library rules, a member has to deposit one-and-a-half times the price of a book before borrowing. The money is refunded when the member returns the book. The library charges a separate fee for supplying photocopies of select parts of a book.

The rules will be applicable to those who will order books or photocopies from the outstation hubs.

The offices — to be linked with the library’s main server — will be opened in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore in the next six months as part of the culture ministry’s plan to upgrade and digitise the 117-year-old institution.

“The idea is to reach book lovers living in other states who are unable to access the library’s huge collection,” Banerjee said.

The ministry has recently approved Rs 2.7 crore for the project and work on digitisation has began. “We are upgrading the library’s website to enable people to access catalogues and other details and requisition books online,” the director said.

The library is also planning to set up a dedicated cell for photocopying to cut time in meeting readers’ demand.

The library, spread across 30 acres in Alipore’s Belvedere Estate, has more than 50 lakh rare books published before 1860. Till now, 32 lakh pages of rare books and manuscripts have been scanned for digital preservation.

The director said he had taken a slew of measure to improve the work culture of the institute, the only library that finds a mention in the Constitution as an institute of excellence. He has banned meetings and rallies on campus and threatened to take “stringent action” against violators.

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