National Centre for Children’s Literature: India’s 21st century library

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Very few people know the fact that NBT, India’s National Center for Children’s Literature also runs a well enriched Library cum Documentation Centre in the field of children’s literature. Here, Mithilesh Anant, librarian-cumdocumentation officer, NCCL, shares more about this library for children. Established in 1993, National Center For Children’s Literature is well connected with all the organisations, institutes and NGOs active in the field of children literature. The Library was renovated in 2013 and was inaugurated by then HRD minister, Govt of India, Dr MM Pallamraju on the NBT’s Foundation Day on August 1, 2013.

Aesthetically designed…

The library has been given an artistic look by depicting Panchtantra tales, on its outside walls through wooden cut-outs of the characters of Panchtantra stories. The animated colourful pictures on the wall at the activitycum- display corner attract the visitors.

The white clouds structured at the ceiling flares up the imagination of anyone. A neat wooden librarian’s counter has been given the cheerful background with bright colours. The main entry with an attractive butterfly glass door makes it very graceful.

Special care has been taken so as not to block the natural sun light, making the atmosphere livelier. The shelves have been designed to accommodate and exhibit children’s literature of all foreign and Indian languages. This is a unique attempt to showcase the best of Indian children’s literature of its kind in the country. One may come across the children’s literature of the last three decades here.

Strategically serving the needs of all…

The library has been developed considering the need of children’s literature for authors, illustrators, publishers, and the whole community of creators associated with it. This library has been mainly divided in three sections. The first part is allocated to the collection of selected 15,000 quality books of children’s literature in 44 languages. These are in 18 original Indian languages and 26 foreign languages including Chinese, German, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, Swedish, Spanish and Thailand. There are 1900 awarded books of foreign literature from more than 50 countries. The collection includes 600 reference books as well, which include classics and religious texts of Indian culture such as a set of Vedas, Puranas, abridged version of Ramayana, Gita, Mahabharata, Jataka tales, and other general information books such as Oxford Illustrated Encyclopedia, a set of Oxford dictionaries, Hobson – Jobson’s Dictionary, Kamil Bulke’s Hindi Dictionary, Atlas of the World, Culture of the World by Times Book Internat ional , Singapore, Culture Course by Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Photographs and the motifs booklets by Art and Culture, almanacs, etc. The library also subscribes more than 50 current children’s magazines. Authors of the pre independence era have been included in the collection with the pillars of children’s literature like Rabindranath Tagore, Mahashweta Devi, Prem Chand, Prakash Manu, Margrat Bhatty, Kalpana Swaminathan, Neeta Berry, RK Narayan, to name a few.

A special arrangement for the researchers to do their research work as well as to accommodate general readers having interest in children’s literature have been made in the second section.

A platform for conducting children’s activity with the seating arrangement of about 30-45 participants has also been made in the library. Programmes are organised engaging world famous writers, illustrators, journalists, publishers and other professionals in the field.

Well-known personalities like Prakash Manu, Madhu Pant Jagdish Joshi, Subir Roy, Paro Anand, Atanu Roy, Kusum Lata Singh, Partho Sen Gupta, Prof Anvita Abbi, Surya Nath Singh, Abid Surti, Deepavali Debroy, Sunil Shetty, Anupam Mishra, Surekha Panandiker and other significant personalities in the field, have already addressed children at NCCL.

The library is connected with the databases of 5,000 libraries through DELNET in India and abroad. The databases of all the major libraries e.g. Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi University (DU), National Library, Kolkata; Nehru Memorial Museum Library, Teen Murti Bhavan (NMML), Sahitya Akademi (SA), Rabindra Bhavan, Centre Secretariat Library (CSL), Shastri Bhavan, Central Institute of Languages (CIL), Mysore; Delhi Public Library (DPL), can be consulted here. The documents may be made available to the user on inter Library loan on request. The third section of the library has been developed as media centre consisting of one touch screen computer for display of OPAC catalogue and two personal computers for public use. 150 CDs/DVDs of children’s literature are available for viewing and use of the public. The facility has been availed by various NGOs or voluntary organizations in their programmes.

The most spectacular feature of this library is its ‘Online Public Access Catalogue’ (OPAC) www.nbtindia.gov.in which can be accessed at anywhere anytime in the world.

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