Research Papers
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Dinesh Kumar

Library In-charge Pharmacy and biotechnology Deptt.

Punjabi University, Patiala


System Administrator Automation
Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala



Sharmila Bose
Vidyasagar College of Education
Siliguri, West Bengal



Study of the category of research and publication in the field of Punjab library history. Only about a dozen scholars are identified as library historians, but a number of younger librarians are expected to continue their work. There is little published research, and little attention to library history. It is suggested that a revival of interest in library history would be useful as the profession activities to solve contemporary problems, by offering insight into alternative courses of action.                                



          Public libraries arise worldwide along with growth in education, literacy, and publications. Every country has its own public library history with influential leaders. Monarchs, wealthy people, and philanthropists have all made a contribution to society in the form of public library development. Services to children and young people aged from birth to adolescence provided by public library. Community information may be information about an organization that can help people in particular circumstances. For example, a public library. The relationship between literacy and library remains strong. In a non-literate community a public library is inconceivable. Without a good Public library communities may not retain literacy already acquired, may be unable to extend cultural and scientific literacy and may find it difficult, if not impossible, to engage in processes of lifelong learning. Today’s library, in seeking to serve an information society, has changed drastically and yet remains unchanged in its essential cultural mission –as the public repository of imaginative and collective constructions of reality and as an agency to serve different publics in the intra-generational and intergenerational dissemination, utilization and validation of currently held knowledge.

The public library system did not prevail. Few monsters, temples and kings had private collections of manuscripts and books. Library facilities were available only for very few. There were few public libraries largely sponsored by book loving kingdoms. Imperial Library (Now National Library). Book Act was also passed during British period, which could help in developing good collection in some libraries. The first Public Library Act was passed only after Independence .




          The current status of the public library system in India is hard to ascertain and describe, because a consolidated picture is not available. There are twenty-eight states and seven union territories in India . All have their own public library systems, structure, and pattern of financial assistance. Twelve of the states have enacted library legislation and the rest are providing public library service without legislation. The states that have enacted library legislation are:


1.       Tamil Nadu (formerly Madras ) Public Libraries Act. 1948

2.       Andhra Pradesh Public Libraries Act. 1960

3.       Karnataka Public Library Act 1965

4.       Maharashtra Public Libraries Act 1967

5.       West Bengal Public Libraries Act 1979

6.       Manipur Public Libraries Act 1988

7.       Kerala Public Libraries Act 1989

8.       Haryana Public Libraries Act 1989

9.       Mizoram Public Libraries Act 1993

10.     Goa Public Libraries Act 1993

11.     Gujarat Public Libraries Act 2002

12.     Orissa Public Library Act 2002



          The Punjab Library Association has been making attempts since 1948 to have library law enacted in the state and its first provincial conference was held in 1948 in which Mr. Trehan submitted a memorandum to the Govt. for enacting Public Library Law which should provide for:

1.                 Appointment of Directorate of Public Libraries;

2.                 Constitution of a Public Library Authority;

3.                 Constitution of Legal Library Authority;

4.                 Institution of Library Fund;

5.                 Payment of royalty to authors from the Library funds.


This can be regarded as the first attempt towards raising a demand for the Library Legislation in Punjab .

Under Punjab Gram Panchayat Act 1953, it was the duty of Gram Panchayat to establish libraries and reading room with in the limit funds. Some libraries were set up in towns and villages. In 1959 Punjab Library Association approached the Local Self Government, Department of Punjab which took action in 1964. Mr. Trehan again submitted a fresh draft of Punjab Public Libraries Bill to Central Library Committee in 1968 but the finance could not be met out of the normal revenue of the state. In 1989 the association revived with a new enthusiasm, organized a book exhibition and a seminar on Public Library System on 22-23 November 1991, Punjab Library Association organized seminar on Public Library System and Library Legislation and decided to have the public supported network of public library system up to the block and village level on the statute Book of the state. The draft Bill prepared by and Expert Committee of Punjab Library Association is ready wity association and is going too submitted to the state government as soon as possible.



          Punjab state is North-Western State of India , bordered on the North by Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, on the South by Haryana, on the South-West by Rajasthan and on the west by Pakistan Country. Punjab has been the most successful state of India with distinctive heritage. Punjab has witnessed many upheavals throughout its history. It is also called the ‘Gateway of India’. Presently, Punjab has twenty districts:


1.                 Patiala

2.                 Amritsar

3.                 Jalandhar

4.                 Fathehgarh Sahib

5.                 Faridkot

6.                 Ropar

7.                 Sangrur

8.                 Mohali

9.                 Manasa

10.             Hoshiarpur

11.            Ferozepur

12.            Gurdaspur

13.            Kapurthala

14.            Bathinda

15.            Nava Shaha

16.            Taran Taaran

17.            Moga

18.            Mukatsar

19.            Barnala

20.            Ludhiana


Chandigarh is the capital of two states, Punjab and Haryana. The total area of the state is 50,362 square kilometres (19,445 square miles). The total Population of the Punjab is 2,43,58,599 consist of mainly Jats and Hindu Rajputs. About 30% Punjab people lives in Cities and 70% Punjab people lives in villages. So, we can say that Punjab lives in villages.



          The partition of India shook the Punjab because many good libraries went to Lahore , Pakistan and the there was disorder in the state. The Punjab divided into East Punjab, India and West Panjab, Pakistan . The public, institutions and libraries suffered a lot and most important materials lost due to exchange and passage of public. Five important libraries were established in Lahore , Pakistan including the Punjab Public Library Lahore, 1884.

          First Punjab Public Library, Lahore was established in 1884 by the Government of India. This Library was not rooted through the law, nor did it form the apex of any system of libraries. It was solitary, though the second biggest library in the country, next to the imperial library, Calcutta . Being the first central library of Punjab, it occupied a significant place and played a vital role in the library movement of Punjab . The library is still functioning at Lahore in Pakistan and is a proud heritage of British India . The road leading to Library has been named as Library Road . Only the members had the facility to loan out books from the library. The library used to receive grants from the Punjab Government and some of the local bodies in the state.

          The Great Philanthropists, S. Dyal Singh Majithia and S. Ganga Ram can be called the “Humanitarian of Punjab”. They promoted development of libraries in undivided Punjab . As such S. Dyal Singh Public Library was established at Lahore in 1896. He made a trust in the name of S. Dyal Singh for the maintenance of Public library for diffusing education in citizen and to enlighten the people with new learning.  S. Ganga Ram commercial Public Library was established through a trust in 1923 to organize and control the money donated by charities. This Library had a rich English tradition collection of nationalism and liberalism which extend the glory of England . The “Dwarka Das Public Library” Lahore was established in 1921 by lok Sewak Mandal made by Lala Lajpat Rai. The Library house an excellent collection of political collection of political leaders. The membership of the library is open to the public as well as for the students of Tilak School of politics founded by Lala Lajpat Rai for youth who could not continue their studies during non-Cooperation Movement. After the Partition, the Library was rehabilitated at Chandigarh , Scetor -15 and is functioning as Cultural Centre.

The first Municipal Library in Ludhiana was started as early as in 1878 even before the Punjab Public Library, Lahore 1884.  Thereafter, Municipal Libraries were established in Various Cities e.g. Municipal Library, Patiala 1897, Moti Lal Nehru Public Library, Amritsar 1900, Municipal Library, Kapurthala 1904, Central Public Library, Sangrur 1912, Patiala Union Public Library, Sangrur 1914.  

Village Libraries were established in various villages by Education and Cooperative Departments of Punjab Government in the buildings of middle and normal schools during 1920-30. The numbers of such libraries were about 1500 during that period. These libraries used to open in the evening after the school hours. Language Teachers were made in-charge of these libraries. Useful and interesting literature, newspaper, periodicals, pamphlets and books for adults and publications of Department of Agriculture and Co-operations were supplied to these libraries. The Library was run by the cooperative society of the village. In this time, the Punjab Govt. had established 1500 rural libraries attached to middle schools.

Away from each other, Small Public libraries and reading rooms were also opened by local bodies in small towns of the state. The development society in Punjab during the 1920’s also contributed towards educating the people through Public Libraries. The Arya Samaj society made the teaching of Vedas, Puranas and other post vedic literature the property of common people by publishing them in regional language and providing them in the Public Libraries. The Singh Sabha Society led to the publication of literature in Punjabi Language for the most part the religious literature. Bhai Vir Singh and other Sikh missionaries worked much in this direction. Reading rooms were opened in the Gurdwaras at Amritsir, Nankana Sahib and Mukatsar under the charge of Granthis. (Sikh Priests).



          In 1955, Tirlok Singh Central State Library, Chandigarh was established. Central State Library, Patiala and three district libraries at Dharamsala, Jalandhar and Ambala were also set up. The district library of Narnaul in 1962, The district library of Gurdaspur in 1966 were set up by the Government. The state Central Library, Patiala was inaugurated by C.P.N, the then governor of Punjab .

          On Nov, 1966, the Punjab was reorganized and a new Hindi speaking state ‘Haryana’ was created. The size of the state was cut to less than half and many institutional and Public Libraries sent to the other states. The T.S. Central State Library, Chandigarh went to Union Territory Chandigarh and the District Library of Dharamshala went to Himachal Pradesh and Ambala and Narnaul were transferred to Haryana. The Punjab was left with only two District Libraries of jalandhar and Sangrur. The New District Libraries were established after 1966 are: The Central Public Library, Patiala became the Central State Library and was renamed as Musafir Memorial Central State Library. After this many District Libraries were established such as District Libraries Amritsar 1982, Fatehgarh Sahib 1995, Ropar and Kapurthala 1966, Public Library Mohali 2007, and Mansa District Library 1995.



          Presently, The Punjab Public Library System is managed by the Directorate of Public Instruction which is assisted by Assistant Director, Cultural Affairs. At Present there is 01 Central State Libraries, 14 District Libraries, 104 Municipal Libraries, 1200 Rural Libraries, 3000  Reading Rooms in the State. So, Out of 20 Districts, the Six District of Nava Shahar, Taran Taran Taaran , Moga, Mukatsar, Barnala and Ludhiana have not their District Libraries. So all the 14 District Libraries are selected for study.

1.       M.M. Central State Library, Patiala            (1955)

2.       District Library, Amritsar                           (1982)

3.       District Library, Jalandhar                         (1956)

4.       District Library, Fatehgarh Sahib               (1995)

5.       District Library, Faridkot                           (1980)

6.       District Library, Ropar                              (1971)

7.       District Library, Sangrur                            (1956)

8.       District Library, Patiala (Nabha)                 (1956)

9.       District Library, Mohali                              (2007)

10.     District Library, Mansa                              (1995)

11.     District Library, Hoshiarpur                       (1974)

12.     District Library, Ferozepur                         (1980)

13.     District Library, Gurdaspur                        (1966)

14.     District Library, Kapurthala                        (1971)

15.     District Library, Bathinda                           (1974)



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