Reviewing the Treasure Trove: BPCL Review

Reviewing the Treasure Trove: BPCL Review

Established in the year 1965, the Biju Patnaik Central Library (BPCL) has undergone several developments since then. Currently, it houses 79,000 books, 90 print journals, more than 15,000 e-books, 6,000 e-journals and almost 17,900 back volumes. Apart from this, it has also purchased licenses to access over 10,000 NPTEL videos (an initiative funded by MHRD and jointly run by IISc, Bangalore and 7 other IITs) to assist students in research and study. This treasure trove of knowledge, named after the former Chief Minister of Odisha, has a collection of original editions of rare books and uses some of the latest technologies to help readers. Here is a sneak peek into a few important policies, reforms and facts about our library with excerpts from the interview of Dr. Bhojaraju Gunjal (HOC, BPCL).

Current Policies:

1. Issuing and Renewal of Books:

The policy to issue and renew books from the library are as follows:

A student can issue a maximum of four books at once. A book will be issued for 21 days. Once the window of 21 days gets expired, the book can be renewed twice. Therefore, a book can stay with a student for a maximum of 63 days. But the renewal of book can be done only if that particular book has not been reserved by someone else. A student can reserve a book in two ways- Online from the Institute library website or by requesting to reserve a book at the Help Kiosk inside the library. Also, the library fine policy is as follows:

No. of DaysFine (in Rs.) Per Day
1 - 21NIL
43rd day onwards10.00

2. Timings of the Library:

It has been a constant demand to keep the library open for 24 hours. According to the HOC, keeping the library open for 24 hours will not prove to be effective because the girls’ hostels inside the institute have an in-timing of 10:30 PM, beyond which they cannot leave their hostels. Therefore, even if the library is kept open, the students will be unable to use the library facilities to their full potential. Instead of keeping the library open for 24 hours, the timings have been extended to provide maximum convenience to the students. The revised timings of the library are as follows:

Monday to Friday:                           9:00 am to 10:00 pm

Saturday, Sunday and Holidays:    9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Unlike previous years, there won’t be an extension in the library timings during the examination weeks. But, the timings can be changed or extended based on requests made by students.

3. Implementation of New Technology:

The BPCL ILS (Integrated Library Management System) has recently been upgraded from Libsys to Koha. The new ILS has an user-friendly interface, is cost effective and provides an efficient search system. With this software enabled browser-based searching through web OPAC module, students can search for availability of books from their hostel rooms at:

Apart from this, the library has also introduced a Library Guide system which sorts books according to departments. This makes it easier for students to look for books of their own departments.

Shortcomings & Setbacks:

Students have complained time and again about the lack of space in the Reading Hall of the library. When asked about the same, the HOC said that it is a temporary problem as the library is going to be shifted to the Golden Jubilee Memorial Building, once its construction is complete. He assured that the new building would provide more space for seating than the current library.

Another major problem that the students face is the unavailability of competitive books at BPCL. When asked about the same, Dr. Gunjal quoted:

The current policy doesn’t allow novels and competitive books. But if a request comes, the policies may be changed. Earlier the policies were framed keeping in mind the career aspects of a student and that is the reason why novels and competitive books are not included in the policy.

But he has assured that there might be a sense of respite for students looking for competitive books. He has urged students to approach the faculty-library representative of their respective department with a written request. And based on the demands of students, the policies may be changed to accommodate competitive books and novels in the library. The scrapping of old books has not been approved by the Write-Off Committee but this issue won’t affect the reading habits of students because the old books have been removed from the shelves and are kept on the 4th floor of the building, which is not a reading room.

Coming to the procedure of purchase of books, a new procedure has been proposed, which is much simpler but is yet to be approved by the director. The committee has also proposed for:

  • departmental budget i.e; each department will be allotted with an annual budget depending on which it can order and purchase new books.
  • The committee also discussed a pertinent problem faced by the library officials, due to the negligence of faculty members in providing the list of textbooks to be purchased. Despite sending e-mails to all faculty members, few of them respond within the given deadline and hence the library officials are forced to send hard-copy of requests to faculties regarding this issue. This leads to delays in ordering and delivery of books.

On enquiring about the various challenges faced, Dr. Gunjal responded saying:

Currently, the basic problem we are facing is the dearth of interest among the users. Even though we take a lot of initiatives to conduct numerous user awareness workshops, user orientation programs, the students don’t turn up. These workshops and demonstrations require a lot of effort from my entire team, and we also invite paid professionals for conducting such events. Even after sending multiple group mails, the response by the users is meager.

Furthermore, BPCL started Research Support Service last year to help the research scholars and faculty members in their research projects and theses, but it couldn’t make much of an impact mainly due to the indifference attitude of the users.

To build this communication gap, a Library Survey Program was started in 2015, which takes place once in every two years to take the feedback from the users regarding their experience in using the library resources, various problems faced by them, the improvements they want in the current services, etc.

Unfolding The Future:

The abolishment of Student Textbook Exhibition program has urged the Library to procure more text books and reference books from all the departments to meet the demands of the NITR Junta. On further questions regarding this, Dr. Gunjal responded saying:

As the text books and reference books are quite expensive and can not be afforded by the general populace, plans have been made for purchase of more text books required during Semester Examinations. Furthermore, e-Books of such books will be made available to cover the shortage.

The HOC, along with his team of dedicated staff members, intend to introduce new facilities to the Library such as the installation of Water Coolers, CCTVs, and Digital Signage, to name a few. Also, there is a plan to allot more space for the General Reading Hall, once the Library is shifted to the Golden Jubilee Memorial Building. But at the same time, cooperation is expected from the students of NITR so that library officials can get to know about their problems and take up necessary steps to improve the facilities. 

Team MM wishes luck to Dr. Gunjal and the entire team of BPCL for their future endeavors.

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