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Self-study goes high-tech

chandigarh Updated: May 16, 2013 19:27 IST
Nanki Singh

Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.’ New generation students might find it easier to follow Gandhi’s advice now than earlier, when libraries are fully digitalised with state-of-the-art technology, making them a tempting prospect. Libraries are no more about stuffy, dusty old rooms with a wheezing old librarian hunched behind the desk. With technology taking over almost all spheres of life, reading too has been digitized, and Chandigarh’s college libraries don’t lag behind.

DAV College
The library — Lalchand Research Library — is famous for its indology section, which was originally established at Lahore in 1917 by the DAV College Management Trust and Society, in the memory of its first President, Rai Bahadur Lalchand. The library was established with the aim of rekindling interest in the wisdom of ancient India, especially the Vedas and various branches of learning such as philosophy, medicine and mathematics. The library at DAV College, Sector 10, has 8,360 manuscripts and 10,303 old and rare books that are not available elsewhere. In October 1996, this library was re-housed at its present location.

Keeping pace with changes in IT, the library is equipped with computer and communication networks and is using SOUL (Software for University Libraries) for automation of in-house operations. A multi-section library, it houses textbooks and reference materials for current syllabi, as well as journals, magazines, newspapers in various languages.

AC Joshi Library, PU
The AC Joshi Library, Panjab University, Sector 14, after the illustrious vice-chancellor, was first established in Lahore in 1882 and inaugurated in its current premises in 1963 by Pt Jawaharlal Nehru. The five-storied building is centrally air-conditioned with a capacity of 500 readers and has a staff of over a 100. The library has a collection of over 6.4 lakh publications, which include books, bound volumes of journals, theses/dissertations, rare books, reports, government documents, back files of newspapers and a prized collection of rare manuscripts. The manuscripts date back to 1634 AD, and there are 1,490 old and rare manuscripts presently housed in the building. Research scholars from USA, Europe and Arab countries visit every year for their work. The reference collection of the library is continuously updated and augmented with the acquisition of CD-ROM databases and access to online databases. Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) facility is available at the reference desk on the first floor. OPAC can also be accessed through any terminal on the campus network. Library collection can also be searched through Web OPAC.

Installed also is the Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) system, which allows students to self-checkout books without the help of staff. There is also a drop box facility open 24 hours for the return of books.

PEC library
The central library, PEC University of Technology, Sector 12, is housed in an area of 27,000 sq feet and organised into various sections, which are manned by professionally qualified staff. With a collection of about 1,08,028 volumes in science and technology, catering to the needs of about 2,000 members (both staff and students), imparting studies in nine branches of engineering, it continuously acquires text and reference books. The library has also subscribed to 72 foreign and 18 Indian technical journals in print. The library is a member of INDEST (Indian National Digital Library in Science and Technology) Consortium since 2003. This provides access to electronic resources — IEL (IEEE), ASME & ASCE.

The library has a multimedia section to make use of electronic media with the help of computer, LCD projector, TV, VCR, OHP, slide projector, CD, floppy and collections of 450 CDs, 76 floppies and 581 video cassettes on various disciplines of technology.

GGDSD College
The library at GGDSD College, Sector 32, provides two reading halls and an outer section hall. All functions of the library are automated with integrated ERP (enterprise resource planning) software named Campus Analyzer. Book exhibitions are held every year on the campus to enable teachers to select different titles to be purchased. This library is highly digitized and equipped with 60 computers with a smooth and steady internet connection.

The library is a member of INFLIBNET (Information and Library Network) N-List Programme, through which it provides access to about 4,000 e-journals and more than 80,000 e-books from different reputed publishers. For visually impaired students, the Jaws screen reading software has been installed.

Head librarian, Arvind Mahajan, says, “We want to provide a comfortable and learning-conducive atmosphere for our students, so that they learn on their own and have fun while doing it.”