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Community libraries will help to engage Kashmiri youth: Governor.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Satya Pal Malik, on Wednesday said state government will make all efforts to engage local youth by helping them in gaining knowledge by either setting up community libraries or providing books through mobile libraries.

Speaking after inaugurating the state-of-the-art SPS Library at MA Road here, Malik said the library will be beneficial to common people. “I am of the opinion that every mohalla should have a library and if not so, we should at least provide youth and book lovers a chance to take up reading through mobile libraries,” Malik said.

The Governor showered praises on the SPS Library and urged people to create a collection of books at their homes.  The library has been constructed at a cost of Rs 32.15 crore.

“I would urge everyone present here to find out a way that mobile libraries are set up so that vehicles with books can reach to every corner of the Valley to provide knowledge to youth and book lovers who don’t have access to libraries. A plan can be put in place wherein the books are collected back from the readers after a week,” Malik said.

The Governor expressed concern that popularity of smartphones has reduced interest in reading books but added that e-books are also gaining popularity.

“With the advent of technology, we are now able to read books on hand-held devices. Either this way or in libraries we should somehow develop the habit of reading books,” he said.

Malik described himself as an avid book lover and recounted his days of managing hundreds of books before taking over as the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. “Before I became Governor, I had one a half room apartment in Delhi which accommodated all my books. Now that I can save some salary, I can find a place to accommodate all my books many of which are lying with some friends,” he said.

Elaborating he said “in India’s history, invaders who came to the country did not just destroy wealthy assets but also put libraries into shambles”.  At Nalanda in Bihar, there were huge evacuations in which ruins of destroyed libraries were discovered. Today it becomes our duty to ensure well being of our libraries,” Malik said.

Malik said libraries and books are a primary symbol of a country. “A saying that even if you have to visit China to gain knowledge, one must do it is quite appropriately. A book does not make a person feel lonely even if you are reading that it for second or third time. There is no weapon in this world which is as powerful as knowledge,” Malik said.

Earlier speaking at the event, Advisor to Governor, Khurshid A Ganai said the SPS Library is aimed to benefit people of the Valley as it houses four different libraries. “There is a research and publication library, city centre library and SPS Library which will attract people for reading and research work. There are 1.50 lakh books present here for public use,” Ganai said.

He said separate sections will provide reading facilities for elderly persons and attract children to this public library as well. “There are 5000 manuscripts of research and publications here. We hope that introducing IT based services will help to make reading an enriching experience here,” Ganie said. He said there are 140 public libraries across the Valley provide reading facilities to common people.

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