Chandigarh: With hard copies and e-books, libraries opt for hybrid avatar

TO KEEP themselves updated and compete with the ever-increasing dependence on ebooks, libraries in the city are shifting towards digitisation.

The State Divisional Library, Sector 34; T S Central State Library, Sector 17; and the British Council Library are transforming themselves into hybrid libraries, which are on the continuum between the conventional and digital libraries, where electronic and paper-based information sources are used alongside each other.

 Parveen Khurana, library incharge at the State Divisional Library, Sector 34, says, “The internet-savvy generation wants all the information readily available. Research no longer poses the same hardships it did a decade ago. Everything is available at the click of a button, displaying the entire world on the device’s screen. Catering to such needs of the clients, the library has incorporated online means of reading and research.”
State library 17

The library offers free wi-fi to all the members and has installed computers in its research and reading rooms. The library witnesses a footfall of 2,500-3,000 users daily, with as many as 800 connecting their devices to the wi-fi. The library also has a blog where, on average, 400 users log in daily. They can avail the provision of journals, books, sample tests as well as newspapers which can be accessed by all the library members. Although ebooks are gaining popularity, no significant drop in the readers of hard copies of books has been observed. The library incharge at the T S Central State Library, Anju Gupta, Sector 17, says, “There is no denial that the clientele for electronic reading mediums has increased, but the library witnesses a similar pattern in the issuing and usage of hard books. The older generation undoubtedly prefers books in the physical forms.” Namrata, a staff member at the British Council Library, says, “What started as an attempt at providing hybrid libraries has now totally transformed the face of our libraries. Our online collection is way more than the books that we currently have in their physical forms. This clearly shows the success of a hybrid library.” Nitika, a regular visitor to the British Council Library, says, “An interesting inclusion in the library’s membership is the online availability of books and journals. The members can issue books online and can read their electronic versions.” Arushi, a student pursuing her masters in chemistry from Panjab University, says, “Books are the most satisfying medium for research and studies. While the internet provides you information in a split second, the understanding you get from searching and researching through books is unmatchable. However, the internet proves to be the only option when nothing can be found in its physical substitutes.”