Knowledge Communication through Rural Library Services: Tagorean Concept and Experiments of Department of Lifelong Learning & Extension, Visva-Bharati
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), the world famous poet and writer, is also regarded as pioneer in rural development programme and library movement in India. Aiming to make villagers self-reliant as well as self-dependent to make efficient use of resources for the fullest development of their physical, social, economic and intellectual potential and abilities, and get them acquainted with the cultural tradition of their own, Rabindranath initiated rural reconstruction programme at Sriniketan in the year 1922. In order to eradicate illiteracy in the nearest villages around Sriniketan, he emphasized on collection and dissemination of information through the introduction of “Chalantika” (Mobile Library) services. This service still continues through 38 village libraries (presently 34 are functioning) under control of the Department of Lifelong Learning & Extension (formerly Rural Extension Centre) of Visva-Bharati with the financial assistance of Raja Rammohun Ray Library Foundation (RRRLF). This paper gives an outline of establishment of the rural libraries year-wise, number of Gram Panchayats served. Also discusses the growth of collection, use of books by readers, provision fund based on the five years Annual Report (2009-10 to 2013-14).