AIP Strengthens BHU’s Lifeline and the Key to Future Prosperity
BHU Library started its planning towards cyber library at the time of collaboration with Cornell University, USA under Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP). Later, BHU Library organized Information Literacy Program at various levels including Author workshop,” said Prof. A. K. Srivastava, University Librarian, Banaras Hindu University.”

The lifeline for any educational institution, the brick and mortar library, still plays an important role in academia despite the advent of easily accessible material through the internet. However, this does not mean that the library should remain unchanged and retain its traditional role as a repository of print and paper. The role of the library in the age of information technology is multifaceted. While retaining its original mandate, it now needs to incorporate the benefits that ICT has to offer – digitization being one of the benefits – and become the forum for intellectual pursuit for individuals and groups, students and teachers. This also means that the traditional librarian must now don new hats. He or she is no longer a glorified guardian of the books under their care, but a manager of information.

The Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP), in its endeavor towards digitizing the libraries in the partner agricultural universities, trained the librarians at Banaras Hindu University to establish a state-of-the-art library system that could support both online and offline learning in the university campus. The recently inaugurated Cyber Library Study Centre (on March 4, 2013) narrates the tale of the concerted efforts of AIP in training the university librarian, Prof Srivastava, at Cornell University’s Albert R. Mann library and empowering him with the necessary skills to establish and manage a digital storehouse of information.

The training at the Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University, coupled with the infrastructural assistance from BHU, enabled Prof  Srivastava to set up a fully digitized, Cyber Library Study Centre with a sitting capacity for 250. The students can now access one hundred thousand e-books on the Internet and more than 20,000 online journals, apart from UGC Infonet Digital Library, World Digital Library, Digital Library of India, Hindi literature, Sanskrit literature, and much more.

Prof Srivastava is excited about the recent developments in the university premises. He feels that students who cannot afford computers, are constantly hampered by long power cuts can now fully utilize enormous digital resources 24/7 in an engaging environment. Owing to the initial success of the cyber library, he has planned to expand the capacity of the center to more than 1000 computers in the near future.

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