PATNA: Will Patna University (PU) library, which is going to hold its centenary celebrations on a grand scale with vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu as the chief guest on Sunday, be able to fill up all its vacant sanctioned posts soon? This question is being discussed by the regular visitors to this library, who have been witness to its hey days when it hummed with academic activities.
As things stand today, almost all the sanctioned posts of librarians, assistant librarians, classifiers, cataloguers and professional assistants are lying vacant for the past two decades. The situation has come to such a pass that this library, having more than 3 lakh books and periodicals, does not have a full-time librarian and is being managed by a teacher. There are seven posts of assistant librarians, but not even a single regularly appointed assistant library is working, at present. A teacher of physics is presently working as the assistant librarian.
PU sources said there are as many as 47 sanctioned posts of library personnel, but only 16, including two teachers serving on ad hoc basis, are rendering their services. Most of them are working on contract basis as their services have been outsourced by some agency.
The libraries of almost all the postgraduate departments are virtually locked for the past several years for want of staff. While many departments do not have any sanctioned post of a librarian to manage their well-equipped libraries, others have failed to fill up the vacant posts of librarians for years together, causing immense hardship to the students and faculty members of the departments. Books worth crores of rupees have been purchased by different departments with the grants sanctioned by the UGC during different plan periods, but they are simply stacked in the departmental libraries, allowing little access to the users.
PU geology department library has not got a single trained library staff for the past several years. A class III employee of the department is somehow managing the library. "A few years back the department had introduced the much-publicized 'e-granthalaya' scheme, but it lies defunct in absence of any trained staff," said department head Ramesh Shukla.
There are more than 5,000 rare manuscripts in different languages in the library, but they have become so fragile that a researcher cannot easily make any use of them. The manuscripts include 1,530 in Persian, 440 in Urdu, 316 in Arabic and 2,547 in Sanskrit, Maithili and Hindi. All these manuscripts were made available to the library by different researchers and scholars during the last 100 years.