Interview with Head of Delhi University Library System
How big is the library system of DelhiUniversity?
We have 34 libraries, 350 professional staff, 100-125 clerical and administrative staff, 15 lakh collection (bound volumes), 31 electronic data base (probably the college libraries were excluded). Even BHU believed to have the biggest library system is not as big as ours. The BHU system is decentralized while ours are centralized.
How much grant is the DULS (DelhiUniversity Library System) getting?
Altogether we are got Rs. 24 crore that included everything such as special drive grant, excellence grant, apart from the regular grant. We get about Rs. 2.5crore for maintenance, Rs.5 crore under plan budget, and Rs. 5crore for books and periodicals.
How do you compare with the world class libraries?
In context of international university, our structure is based on Oxford model, but we are no where near them in collection. They are more than ten times better than us.
…And in Asia?
We are probably the biggest in Asia.
How far have you gone ahead with digitization?
The issue of copyright comes in when you want to go for digitization on a large scale. Therefore, we have identified 80,000 books out of copyright zone. Department of Information and technology has given us a grant of Rs.60 lakhs for the purpose. Within the two years our target is to digitize 20,000 books. We have already completed 30 lakh pages or 7775 books. We hope to complete the project within the time frame.
Are you able to utilize the funds you get?
Yes, we utilize 100 percent.
Do you think the grant you are getting is sufficient or do you demand more funds?
We get 3.5 percent of non-plan grant. Radhakrishnan Commission had recommended 6 percent. We are demanding that we should get at least 5 percent. This was also recommended by the Inspection Committee, that visited our libraries. They said the grant should be at least 5 percent.
What improvements have you brought about in the University Library System?
We initiated information literacy programme for PG students, college teachers, and university faculty. This programme is meant to familiarize them with online usage of library, and teach them search engine techniques. We have created packages related to syllabus. We have 31 electronic data bases that can be subscribed to.
At a personal level, when I came here there was 100 percent policy of promotion. I realized this was damaging the system. 100 promotion meant promotions were taken for granted. I thought the system needed to be reverse-geared. The system needed to be cleaned. I said in the next five years, you will have places but not people to man them. I listed the services we needed. A committee was formed and several measures were initiated. We were lagging 25 years behind. With the initiative taken we are still 10 years behind, but the improvement has come about.
The libraries across the world are generating revenues in various ways. Have you taken any initiative in that direction?
In economics there is something called ‘equity approach’, which means social gain can be linked to financial gain. We believe libraries can do this job better.