They say libraries are not a luxury, yet a necessity of life, but who would have thought that Bihar a state which produces the maximum number of writers in vernacular writers have seen the end of nearly 500 of its public libraries in last 60 years.
Yes, it hard to believe but in last 60 years, Bihar has let 497 of its public libraries – which were once the lifeline of intellectual spring Bihar was famous for – vanish and now only 38 of these are surviving and that too with great difficulty.
According to a story done by Bihar’s local hindi news website biharcoverz.com, these libraries are also struggling to survive as the government is still blinded by apathy.
How did libraries survive for this long?
Libraries need money to survive, to buy new books and to maintain the old ones, catalogues etc, but its appears Bihar government wasn’t interested in taking care of these knowledge hubs.
Libraries would get money in two ways-first the direct grant given by the state government and second the Raja Rammohan Roy grant in which 40 percent of the money by state.
But was Rs 300 per year enough?
According to the story done by biharcoverez.com, until 1985, the state government would only give Rs 300 per year per library which was obviously not enough. Slowly these libraries started vanishing. The government even stopped Rs 300 grant in 1986 and from there onwards, the pace of these libraries getting extinct acquired pace and now only 38 of these are barely operational.
In 2012, government tried to revive them
In 2012, the state government decided to give some grant to these remaining libraries and thus gave Rs 1 crore as allocation for these libraries to buy books. But this was a small amount as one library would only get 2 to 2.5 lakh rupees, which indeed isn’t enough at all. In 2014, this grant was also stopped and that’s why since 2014, none of the libraries has bought any books in last four year.
Here are these 38 libraries
Currently, the state has 20 district libraries, six zonal, 1- block level and two government libraries. But in absence of government’s care, these also are likely to meet the same fate.
Some of these libraries are famous across India
Many of these libraries are famous in the country for their superior collection of books. For example, Bhagwan library in Bhagalpur still has over a lakh books, but once no funds for the maintenance of these assets. Vaishali’s Lalganj has a 100 year old library-Sharda library where Gandhi himself has come in 1917.