New Delhi: In an age increasingly moving towards digitisation and ebooks, the role of libraries keeps coming under focus.
Participants at the 19th edition of the Delhi Book Fair opening here this Friday throws the spotlight on role of libraries and readership growth.
A total of 250 participants including overseas publishers are expected to particiapte in the 9-day fair organised by Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) in association with India Trade Promotion Organisation.
"The book fair will facilitate authors and delegates from round the globe. Especially from US, Iran and European countries. A special seven member delegates from China will be here to provide information regarding the literary movements in China," Sudhir Malhotra, President, FIP said today.
Oraganisers say they also look forward to participation by publishers from Pakistan at Pragati Maidan, the venue of fair from August 23- August 31, themed around "Libraries and Readership."
"Over the last decade, Pakistan has always been an active participant in the fair. But this year, there is some problem with their visa clearance. We have cleared all the formalities from our part and now it is upto the concerned ministries of both countries", Malhotra said.
At the World Book Fair earlier in February this year, publishers from the neighbouring country had to wait till the last minute to obtain visas.
The government is currently working on modernising and digitally linking nearly 9,000 libraries across the country.
A National Mission on Libraries (NML)has been constituted on the basis of a report submitted by National Knowledge commission set up the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The NML has taken steps for improving library sector including upgradation of existing public school and college libraries and use of school libraries as community libraries.
Meanwhile the Delhi Book Fair provides a platform for business transactions, establishing new contacts, entering into co-publishing arrangements, translation and copyright arrangements as well as reprinting of old and rare books.
Apart from books, a number of conferences and seminars, buyer-seller meets, book releases, discussions and literary activities for childern have been planned during the fair.
"To engage the students, we are hosting a `Kavi samelan` a gathering and interactive session with poets and also, a story-telling event for children too", Malhotra said.
"We are putting more than 500 stalls for exhibition. So it would cater audience with more collection of books", he added.
Among other facilities are free shuttle services.
"Mini AC buses services are arranged to ferry the visitors from 5 gates. We hope this facility would help them to avoid rush", Malhotra said.
Entry ticket for adults will be Rs 20, and Rs 10 for children and students (with I-card).