What is the role of the public libraries of Kerala in the new knowledge society? What will be their new features? SPACE initiated a series of discussions by posing these questions to a set of rural public libraries in the state. Some of the concerns expressed by libraries related to the preservation of valuable books and records in their possession, documentation of local history and engaging younger members of the public in its activities.
Deshaposhini Public Library
Deshaposhini Public Library in Kozhikode, which opened to the public in 1937 in a climate of great political awakening has served generations down the line, and it does so even into the digital era of today. The library will soon build its own website with the help of its volunteers. 14 of the volunteers were trained by SPACE in website building, using content management systems. The volunteers will continue to update and manage the library's site.
The library has among its archives the diary of a lady officer who served in the Indian National Army. The name of the owner and other details are as yet unknown to the library. Digitisation of the diary is one of the ambitious projects to be undertaken by the library.
Jawahar library, Arianalloor
Members of Jawahar library at Arianalloor in Kollam believe that to continue to be relevant in an era of rapid technological development, the library must adapt itself to the needs of the younger generation, whose interests are no longer tied to books alone. The library envisions itself as an information and computer centre of the locality in future. Workshops conducted for Jawahar library focussed on needs related to setting up a kiosk-setting up hardware, training them in the use of specific tools such as Audacity for audio editing and Kino for video editing. The workshops were held in two stages, from 27-28 April, 7-8 May 2012.
Deshiya Vayanashala, Panamattom
For Deshiya Vayanashala located in Panamattom, Kottayam, documenting local history and the lives of eminent persons who lived there is a priority. Workshops to be held by SPACE for Deshiyavayanasala will focus on training the library's volunteers in video documenting. The first of the series of workshops was held on May 9, 2012.