1. In the beginning of this interview I would like to find more about your experience as a librarian. When did you start this wish of yours to graduate a library school start and when did you decide to work in this field?
I had developed a special liking for Sociology and Kannada (my mother tongue) since my Pre University Education. While I was doing my graduation (BA : Sociology as major subject and Psychology and Kannada as Minor subjects) I almost decided to pursue my MA In Sociology. By the time I passed my BA my ideas changed may be due to peer pressure …. and job market. Getting a post of Librarian was more a quick possibility than to get a job of a Sociology Teacher. So I went for doing my B.L.I.Sc (Bachelor of Library and Information Science) in the year 1980. But once I finished my B.L.I.Sc I found Librarianship to be limited in scope and again went in for my Masters in Sociology(MA). So completed my Masters (MA) in Sociology, completed one year of Post Graduate Diploma in Planning (Urban and Regional Planning). I could not bear heavy expenses / fee etc of my Planning Course. I had to leave the course in between half way. It is here that I decided to become a Librarian. I joined my first job as full time Librarian in a School (Government of India) in the year 1983.
2. Have you followed a mentor in your professional evolution : from assistant librarian, Librarian, chief and Senior Librarian?
No not really. I did my one month internship at our University Library (Karnatak University Dharwad). Of course all my LIS teachers were my mentors as and when I contacted them and as and when I met them. I became an independent and full time Librarian in my first posting itself. After working for three years in the school library, I joined Directorate of Oilseeds Research (Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Government of India) as Assistant Librarian. Here I worked under mentorship. I worked under my boss whose designation was Documentation cum Information Officer. This period of seven years helped me to learn from my boss and learnt to work in a team. After this period under mentorship, I went on to join National Institute of Fashion Technology (Government of India) as a full time independent Head Librarian. I worked for about 12 years here. I was instrumental in establishing the library and its services. The Library titled as Resource Centre had three divisions viz : Library, Materials and Audio Visual Wings. Later I worked as Librarian and Documentationalist at Akruti Citygold Institute, as Chief Librarian at Asian School of Business Management. I worked for one year till November 2013 at National Institute of Fashion Technology, Mumbai as its Head Resource Centre.
With effect from 1984 till now I focused on reading and writing and publishing. I published 15 + articles / papers in books and journals. My prominent specializations are Librarianship as a profession and Sociology of professions. In the year 1998 I was officially sponsored to participate in International Conference hosted by International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions at Amsterdam (Netherlands). As a part of the trip I also had an opportunity to visit / participate in Fashion Fairs / exhibitions at London.
3. Can you tell us something about Indian Library System. What place (role) have the public libraries in this system?
India being a large country territorially and by population is naturally one of the worlds largest learning communities. As a result there are lakhs of educational and cultural organizations far and wide with which libraries are bound to be associated. Indian Library system stands out to be unique due to the contribution of Dr.S.R.Ranganathan in terms of Library theory, standards and philosophy (Colon Classification, Classified Catalogue Code). India I am sure is a land boosting off of its large number of Librarians, Library Schools and Researchers. Indian Public Library System is large, far and wide and culturally rich in its history and diversity. Library Legislation is yet to happen in many of Indian States. Efforts are on in that direction. Much depends on the policy of Union Government with regard to budget allocations. National Knowledge Commission has envisioned a grand plan for Library development in the country. As on date most of the public libraries are sick due to paucity of funds.
4. What image has the profession of librarianship in the contemporary Indian Society?
The image of the Librarianship Profession does not seem to be different from that of a global level. Librarianship and Librarians are yet to make their mark every where in the world with regard to their image and status. Same is the case with India and Indian Librarianship. Good news is most of the states accord the status of a professor to University Librarians in all states. Academic Status of Librarians seems to be quite ahead of other countries … even compared to many developed countries. Librarian is a known entity in academic and scholarly circles in colleges and universities. This is not enough a development as for as enhancement in the status of Librarianship is concerned. Common man in India is yet to know about the librarian and his role in Society. This visibility of librarian as a professional depends on the development of libraries in SCHOOLS and public libraries at large in nook and corners of the country.
5. How do you think how will evolve this profession in the future? (How do you think about the evolution of this profession in the future?
Undoubtedly the future of Librarianship globally as a profession is very bright in view of importance being accorded to information and knowledge in all countries and cultures. Librarianship is undergoing a sky change due to un imaginable and new developments with regard to reading, books and journals. Now this is a boom time for e-books and e-reading. Many around globe are apprehensive about the danger of closure of librarians and there by the redundancy of librarians. My personal opinion is that Librarians will continue to exist for thousands of years to follow but in different ways and formats. To be indispensible Librarians need to upgrade themselves more with e-environment and internet world. Librarianship as Profession is still in the making. Before achieving the coveted full status it is again and again at cross roads. I am sure it takes a relevant shape, form and status to serve society more meaningfully and usefully.
6. What impact has the Internet and the use of new information technologies in this respect? How can the Internet work in maximizing the services of the Public Library ?
Librarianship for now and in future will be heavily wedded to Information technologies and Internet for good of itself and the society it serves. Future Libraries may not be identifiable as they are today due to physical books and buildings. Today’s libraries are slowly and steadily migrating themselves to computer systems and gadgets. These Libraries on gadgets infact may be much much bigger in size. As I understand public libraries in developed countries are doing well with regard to adoption of IT. Sooner or later IT will sweep over all libraries all over the world and bring a sea change on the way people read and collect information. It will be true of public libraries as well. Future of Librarians and libraries depends on how well they reach the last person of the society and how fast. And that day is not far.
7. Can we speak about a “war” between traditional ways of reading and the new forms of storage and dissemination of information and books?
It is not a WAR as such between traditional books, journals, magazines and modern e-books, e-journals and e-magazines and their reading as for their hard and soft status are concerned. It is not a WAR. Rather the whole world is colluding to democratize information and knowledge. No one can stop this trend, not the people, not the governments and librarians not at all. This should be taken as a good news by every one including Librarians. So far Librarians were issuing books to their readers and now they will be issuing small libraries in the form of laptops and ipads and tablets. Wonderful indeed!
8. What do you know about the Romanian Libraries?
I hardly know any thing about Romanian Librarians and Libraries. I liked the vision statement of THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LIBRARIANS AND PUBLIC LIBRARIES IN ROMANIA – ANBPR which runs like this : “ANBPR believes that redesigning the role of public libraries in Romania as an essential institution that will radically diminish the number of Romanians currently digitally excluded through: enhancement of librarians digital skills; signing Cooperation Protocols with public administration; involving libraries in e-Inclusion activities at European level: e-Skills Week, Get online!” (http://www.anbpr.org.ro/index.php/contact ). Based on this I can say that Romanian Librarians well ahead with regard to professionalization and professionalism.
9. What projects you want to accomplish in the field of sociology of reading and library management?
I am pained to put on record on the questionable status of Sociology of Reading and Librarianship. Unfortunately Librarians and Library educators are yet to realize the importance of disciplines like Sociology, Anthropology and Psychology. These contents have to be incorporated in the curricula of LIS world over. We cannot do away from such wonderful content for the betterment of the profession and people (readers) in general. Librarians need to be well grounded and groomed in these disciplines. Subject experts from these disciplines should be invited to enrich the knowledge and understanding of Library Science students and Library Educators. Librarians I wish to engage themselves more in Research with regard to Sociology of Reading and Library Management.
10. What means the success of a contemporary library manager?
Liliana Moldovan (Interviewer). published in http://www.asiiromani.com/
Liliana Moldovan (Interviewer). published in http://www.asiiromani.com/