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President Droupadi Murmu Inaugurates 'Festival of Libraries 2023' Promoting Library Modernization and Digitization

The Ministry of Culture organized the "Festival of Libraries 2023" in New Delhi on August 5 - 6, 2023. President Droupadi Murmu inaugurated the two-day event, while Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar graced the valedictory ceremony. The festival aimed to highlight iconic libraries worldwide and foster conversations on modernizing and digitizing libraries in India. As part of the "Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav," the event aimed to develop action-oriented policies for Model Libraries at all levels. The festival featured exhibitions, discussions, and sessions on library schemes and collections.

Khushi Mudgal
The Ministry of Culture organized the "Festival of Libraries 2023" in New Delhi on the 5th - 6th August 2023. (Image Source- Twitter)
The Ministry of Culture organized the "Festival of Libraries 2023" in New Delhi on the 5th - 6th August 2023. (Image Source- Twitter)

The Ministry of Culture organized a unique “Festival of Libraries 2023”, which took place on August 5 – 6, 2023 at Hall No. 5, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The two-day festival was inaugurated by the President of India Droupadi Murmu, while the Vice President of India, Jagdeep Dhankhar, graced the Valedictory Ceremony of the event. The festival aimed to highlight iconic libraries from around the world and initiate conversations on modernizing and digitizing libraries in India.

This festival was a part of the second phase of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ and aligned with the Prime Minister’s vision to foster the development and digitization of libraries, promoting a culture of reading in India. Its primary goal was to facilitate the formulation of action-oriented policies for the development of Model Libraries in India, even at the village and community levels.

President Droupadi Murmu, in her speech addressing the audience, said, "The books written by Mahatma Gandhi and Ruskin Bond have made a revolutionary change in the world. Books, in their essence, contain the fragrance of the earth's soil and the potential to touch the sky. People used to carry books at long distances 100-150 years ago to work, and those books were associated with the history of Indian literature and crafts."

"I acknowledge the timeless value of books, as they transcend generations, carrying the wisdom of the past and the seeds of progress for the future," the President said. "I urge everyone to embrace the magic of books and continue their journey of learning and exploration through the vast world of literature."

The festival also marked the launch of a special ranking system for libraries across India, promoting excellence and innovation in the library sector. Noteworthy highlights included the launch of a crowd-sourced Directory of Libraries and the signing of a Tripartite MoU between three prominent libraries: Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library, Patna; Rampur Raza Library, Rampur; and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Arabic Persian Research Institute, Tonk, for long-term collaborative events.

The event featured engaging roundtable discussions, panels, and conversations with organizers of literary festivals, young authors, and publishing houses. Special sessions focused on schemes for libraries and their collections, including National Missions on Libraries, Manuscripts, and Archives.

Visitors had the opportunity to experience 10 captivating exhibitions showcasing Cartographic archives, Calligraphy Types & Cursive Writing Styles in 22 vernacular languages, and Tribal fonts through theme-based exhibitions. Other features included Archives, Oral Histories & their Exhibition, digitization of archives, and an exhibition on rare archival collections and illuminated manuscripts. The Children’s Zone provided special hands-on activity zones to inculcate the habit of reading and develop a relationship with books.

The event brought together stakeholders, including librarians, academics, district collectors, and directors of model libraries, to encourage libraries to become the Drawing Rooms of the Community and foster future leaders. The government’s National Mission on Libraries (NML) further emphasized its commitment to enhancing libraries across the country, connecting district libraries with digital networks, and prioritizing libraries in economically backward districts.

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