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3rd  International Conference of Asian Libraries begins at CUK

Srinagar, Aug 6: Central University of Kashmir (CUK) Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mehraj ud Din Mir Monday said the institutions of higher learning across the globe can provide quality education to their students and can help scholars to conduct quality research only if they are able to provide exceptional library services.

“In this technological era, the smart libraries have become order of the day. However, we cannot undermine the value and importance of the traditional libraries and the pivotal role played by them in shaping the future of acclaimed scientists and researchers of the country,” Prof. Mehraj ud Din Mir said in his presidential address during the inaugural function of the 3rd International Conference of Asian Libraries organised by the Central Library of the Central University of Kashmir (CUK) and Asian Library Association (ASIALA), New Delhi at Nowgam-I academic block of the varsity here.

Member National Knowledge Commission and Guest of Honour, Prof. P B Mangla, Registrar, Prof. M Afzal Zargar, former Librarian, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, and Conference Director, Dr. Gayas Makhdumi, CUK Librarian and Organising Secretary, Dr. Abdul Majid Baba, General Secretary, Asian Librarian Association and Director, National Resource Centre, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, Deans of Schools, Heads and Coordinators, faculty members and delegates from other parts of the country, research scholars and library staff from other institutions also attended the inaugural function.

The theme of the Conference is “Building Smart Libraries: Changes, Challenges, Issues and Strategies.”

CUK Vice-Chancellor, said the smart library is not going to help students and researchers unless it has smarter (knowledgeable and proficient professional) library staff. “The staff should have knowledge about latest books and journals and should also be the best communicators,” Prof. Mehraj ud Din Mir added. 

About the CUK, he said the varsity was established in the year 2009 and as on date, the university has nine schools with 18 Post Graduate departments, running about 35 programmes including research programmes. “We have carved a niche as far as providing of quality education is concerned, despite facing several constraints on infrastructure development front,” Prof. Mir said. Guest of Honour, Prof. P. B Mangla while addressing the participants, said the information technology has revolutionised the functioning of libraries across the world. He said the smart library is a library which gives service to the users in a smart manner and should not only have proper infrastructure, but also should possess hybrid collection in both printed and non-printed material. “If you really want to provide service in a smart library, the staff there has to be smart (highly knowledgeable and professionally proficient) and should be able to communicate properly with the users,” Prof. P. B Mangla said.  He said the libraries have existed since times immemorial and have always been source of information to the masses. Prof. Mangla said the concept of library services primarily came into prominence in 20th century, although it started in 19th century. He said the concept of paperless and paper full society will coexist in India and the essence of traditional libraries will always remain there. 

Congratulating Dr. Abdul Majid Baba for holding the international conference, Registrar, Prof. M Afzal Zargar, said, that holding of such conferences provides a good platform for getting the best experts across the country and globe who discuss and deliberate extensively on the themes and come up with concrete suggestions and recommendations. He said “smart” is a buzz word these days and building smart libraries in institutions of higher learning are need of the hour, keeping in view the technological advancements.  

He said the advancements in Information Technology have enabled the humans to access and study anything on their fingertips. He said the libraries play a significant role in dissemination of knowledge and have now become online resource centres, adding that all the libraries should utilize the information technology in order to reach to the masses, cutting across the manmade borders. He, however, said the use of information technology has also increased plagiarism, which needs to be checked at an earliest. 

Former Librarian, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, and Conference Director, Dr. Gayas Makhdumi, while speaking on the occasion, said that during three days, the participants would be thoroughly discussing the ways and means to transform the libraries into smart libraries. “Smart libraries are going to be the future of the library information system and we have to discuss and adopt a mechanism to convert the traditional libraries to smart ones,” he said. He said that during this conference the ball will be set rolling to devise a roadmap for adopting the change and influence of the information technology on the library system.  On the occasion, Dr. Gayas Makhdumi, was also conferred ASIALA 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution in the library sciences.

General Secretary, Asian Library Association and Director, National Resource Centre, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, while addressing the participants said, ASIALA is hosting conference and seminars for the professional upliftment of library information science professionals, throughout the country. Dr. Sanjeev Kumar said that today we are living in a digital era and growing connectivity, through information technology, has ensured that people across the world can access resources of libraries, established in any country thereby cutting the manmade barriers.  He said the younger generation is more connected due to the usage of smart phones and the libraries have to chalk out a strategy to cater to their needs by appropriately utilizing the advancements in information technology. He also underscored the need of establishing the concept of smart libraries (hybrid libraries) which would have both, books and e-resources and open access to everyone using technology.

In his welcome address, CUK Librarian and Organising Secretary, Dr. Abdul Majid Baba, said that during these three days, the participating delegates would deliberate several issues related to the theme threadbare and would accordingly strategize and come up with suitable recommendations. “Librarians need to find ways to respond effectively to different developments in order to meet user expectations. The challenge is there and if the librarians have to survive, they have to accept it and respond proactively,” Dr. Baba said. He said the Librarians have to accept the new idea of service, which integrates the information technology with traditional idea of service, universal access and cooperation. Dr. Baba said the Information Technology should not be considered as a challenge to the survival of the books and libraries, but as a boon, making library work more efficient, fast and accurate.


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