Bill Gates funded INR 32 cr to help Indians pick up reading habit

Indian Public Library Movement will start by reaching out to a million library users at 300 district-level libraries

Grant of $4.78 million (around Rs. 32 crore) and it aims to get people involved with books. Thanks to the Bill Gates and Melinda Gates Foundation, Nasscom Foundation has conceptualised an Indian Public Library Movement (IPLM).

Nasscom Foundation will have an autonomous team of professionals and IPLM secretariat to manage and monitor all activities. The secretariat will work to bolster libraries in India through increased collaborative work and support from the country government (national, state and local level) as well as non-government stakeholders/bodies (NGOs and corporations through their CSR initiatives), among other like-working organisations.
Director of the Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries Programme,Deborah Jacobs says India is one of the important countries that the foundation focuses on. “Libraries can change mind sets and it is important for communities to realise that libraries are not just dusty storage places for books, they are lively centres of information and knowledge. Public libraries play an important role in giving Internet access to underserved communities,” she says.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had also provided support earlier for a pilot project for modernisation of 7 govt. public libraries in UP. “Based on the positive results of the pilot project, the state government will now participate in the scale up program. 16 govt public libraries of the state will be covered under the scale up programme including 7 libraries covered under the pilot phase,” says Shantwana Tiwari, officer on special duty, department of secondary education, Uttar Pradesh.

The movement will commence by reaching out to a million library users at 300 district-level libraries and providing community driven services such as computer training classes to build digital skills, access to online information about health and agriculture, a safe place for students to study and learn to build opportunities for people of all ages.

“These libraries have the potential to become information and knowledge centres because of their spread and reach. With this movement, Indian public libraries will take their rightful place across the country. IPLM is being implemented in 60 districts across 5 states of India,” says Shrikant Sinha, CEO, Nasscom Foundation.