About India Public Libraries Conference
Indian public libraries are the legacy of the British era. Their aims and objectives are well reflected in the following Notification in the Gazette of India when the Imperial Library, Calcutta, one of the few public libraries at that time, was opened to the public: ‘It is intended that it should be a library of reference, a working place for students and a repository of material for the future historians of India, in which, so far as possible, every work written about India, at any time, can be seen and read.’
These aims and objectives continued to be the guiding principles of public libraries for many years, even after independence. But the concept of public libraries has changed drastically in the 21st Century when the emphasis is on making them community oriented and accessible to all irrespective of gender, age, caste, class, religion, disability, etc. In addition, digital technologies are also helping in widening the scope of public libraries by adding digital content and information and streamlining library operations.
These transformations in the sphere of public library services and functioning require a multi-stakeholder approach – to identify and bring together stakeholders across sectors in addition to public library/library professionals to achieve their aims and objectives in a changed scenario. In this context, the India Public Libraries Conference, supported by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was launched in 2015 to serve as a multi-stakeholder platform to engage various public library stakeholders across sectors, discuss challenges and opportunities, and share learnings, innovations and best practices in the public library domain.
IPLC 2016 is the second edition of this conference. It strives to showcase how, in spite of challenges, public libraries are repositioning themselves with the help of technology and innovative content and services to serve the communities in the 21st century.