Public Libraries are repository and source of information and ideas, a place for learning and enquiry, and for the generation of thoughts and the creation of new knowledge. Public libraries have the potential to bridge the gap between the ‘information poor’ and the ‘information rich’ by ensuring that every Indian without discrimination has easy access to knowledge they seek. Moreover, at the global level, public libraries are increasingly being seen as means to achieve 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Public libraries are particularly important in the Indian context, as these libraries could serve as great equalizers. Libraries have the vast potential to make a substantive difference in the empowerment of India’s masses and in the development of a better educated and informed citizenry. While largely underfunded and neglected institution, the Indian public library system is in a position to provide vital community and information resources for millions of Indians with the aid of rapidly changing technology.
Public libraries have played an important role in the lives of many successful people. It was probably the only institution which could offer free services to everyone for any knowledge needs. Presently, even though we have about 70 thousand public libraries in this country, but most of them have become mere structures, which are there only because they are public institutions funded by the government. Attached with these structures are capable and professional librarians, who, if utilized optimally, can become agents of change for the community living around the library. The public library ecosystem extends from the national level to the state, district, block and village levels providing the best reach.
India Public Libraries Conference (IPLC) 2017 is the third edition of this conference. It strives to showcase how, in spite of challenges, public libraries are repositioning themselves with the help of technology and innovate content and services to serve the communities in the 21st century.