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CAG raps National Library for poor functioning

Criticising the functioning of National Library, the CAG has rapped it for not keeping pace with the times and said the quality of readership provided by it does not meet the requirements of modern-day readers.



New Delhi: Criticising the functioning of
National Library, the CAG has rapped the prestigious institute
for not keeping pace with the times and said the quality of
readership provided by it does not meet the requirements of
modern-day readers.

In its audit report for the year ended March 2008, the
Comptroller and Auditor General said due to weak internal
controls, absence of work norms and lack of automation, the
library has not been able to keep pace with the times in
providing efficient readership services to people.

It said due to non-accessioning and deficient movement
control, priceless possessions of the rare books division like
world`s smallest dictionary, century old manuscripts and
letters of eminent personalities like Rabindranath Tagore,
Sarojini Naidu and Subhash Chandra Bose were exposed to loss
and theft.

"The preservation and conservation practises of the
library are old and inadequate to preserve and protect the
life of precious books. Rare books and manuscripts in the
library are not documented and accessioned properly, making
them vulnerable to loss and theft," the report, which was
tabled in both house of Parliament today, said.

The report said the prestigious library, which aims to
protect the cultural heritage of India, had no centralised
digital catalogue to enable efficient direct search.

The audit also found that out of an estimated 25 lakh
books in the library, only 9,141 books have been digitised.

It also said the library is not well equipped and ill
prepared for emergency situations like fire. Security
arrangements in the library are not adequate.

The report also said there is "lack of transparency" in
the procedure regarding purchase of foreign books and
journals.

"There are significant delays in processing unprocessed
books in the library, affecting the timely availability of
contemporary books to readers," the report said.

It said the Delivery of Books and Newspapers (Public
Libraries Act, 1954) was being "poorly" enforced in the
library and that only five to 25 per cent of books published
in India have been received and recommended that the library
create and regularly update a database of books published in
India.

"It should develop a transparent and competitive purchase
procedure and select publications through wider consultation
with experts," it said.

The CAG report said the library should open an accession
register and properly document all rare collections to avoid
possible loss and theft due to non-accessioning.

PTI

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