A Tech-Savvy Repository: BPCL Library Review

A Tech-Savvy Repository: BPCL Library Review

Naman Agrawal Debabrata Malik | Sep 16, 2019

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The Biju Patnaik Central Library often abbreviated as BPCL is a treasure trove of knowledge which is situated just behind the Main Administrative Building of NIT Rourkela. Established back in 1965, when the institute was a Regional Engineering College (R.E.C.), the library has come a long way and became the first amongst NITs to have its website. The automatic issue, renewal and webmail alert systems make the library at par with the libraries of premier institutes like IITs. The library has been introducing more and more services to ease access to its facilities over the years. On this note, we present to you the annual review of the Biju Patnaik Central Library.

Yes

Library Timings

The library is currently kept open all the working days, Saturday and Sunday, except the national holidays.

Timings:

On weekdays - 9 AM to 10 PM

Saturday and Sunday - 9 AM to 6 PM

Demand for 24*7 access to library

This is a daily ritual in the BPCL library. When the clock strikes 10 pm, the guards would come and switch off the lights. In the absence of full-time reading room, students are forced to limit their academic pursuits. This is not the first time expanding library hours issue has been raised by NITR Junta but nothing substantial has been done yet. Students have a lot of questions about whether or not they would use the library at all hours of the night. To this, Mr Vinod Kumar Mishra(HOD, BPCL) said that:

Having a 24/7 Library is not financially feasible as the budget has been reduced drastically. Earlier we had 16 trainees at work but now we have only 13 trainees and the institute is planning to reduce this count too. Managing existing timings is already a big problem for us, so we cannot think of expanding the timings. 

 

Issue, Renewal, and Procurement

Borrowing privileges are given only to the faculty, officers, staff, research scholars and students. Books can be issued to the borrowers against the institute library ID-card.

  Borrower’s Type  No. of Books   Issue Period
 Faculty      10   90 days
 Officers       6   21 days
 PhD       6   21 days
 U.G/P.G       4   21 days
 Non-teaching staff        2   21 days

Non-circulating items: Certain books are intended to be used only in the reference section. These books are not issued and may not leave the library.

Library holds: Placing a hold on a book puts you next in line to check the book out. Holds can only be placed on books that are currently checked out by someone else. When the item is returned it will be held at the Information and Assistance Desk, and you will receive an email alerting you to the availability of the item.

Renewal rules: A borrowed book may be renewed if it has not been requested by another patron. Books can be renewed two times after issuing. The first-time book can be renewed online or at the Issue/Renewal kiosk of the library. But after the second-time renewal student must come to the library to renew the book.

Fine Policy: On the day after the due date, the books will be considered overdue if they have not been renewed or reissued. The library's computer system notifies students of the overdue books via email and also gives a warning before the due date.

     No. of Days        Fine(in Rs.) Per Day
     1 – 21            NIL
     22 – 28           1.00
     29 – 42           5.00
     43rd day onwards          10.00

If a book is not returned within 90 days, the library will unliterally compute the replacement cost along with 90 days fine(Rs.557/-) plus processing charge.

Due to the fire in the data centre, students faced some troubles in renewal and returning of books. Concerning the topic, HOD( library) said that 

Due to fire, the server was not working. We were handicapped due to the website shutdown. I was not in the station that time otherwise I had definitely thought of a parallel solution for the problem. Though, the fine of that particular period has been waved off and a mail has already been  sent to the students regarding it. 

Procedure for book procurement: Library has always been striving hard to meet the expectations of the user. Currently, the library budget is bifurcated among all the departments. Each department is allotted with an annual budget on which it can order and purchase new books. The faculty and students can recommend books and other publications to the library. The requisition of students get approved by the concerned faculty and library will further order books on their request.

New Facilities

If we take a look at the new facilities and services which have been introduced in the BPCL in the past academic year, it has largely been on the services side. The introduction of IRINS by the BPCL in collaboration with Inflibnet has resulted in increased ease of access to faculty profiles of NIT Rourkela. The profiles have useful information about the faculty’s research and publications. Another new service is that of LibGuide, which is a department-friendly service introduced by BPCL. This enables site visitors to browse the resources of the library in a better way with a dedicated page for each department. 

There’s a feedback mechanism in place which takes feedback from the students after every 2 years. It would be held in February or March in the next semester. Apart from this, the BPCL also conducts a few events throughout the year for both library professionals and the faculty and research students. These include workshops on plagiarism detection tools and research writing. 

The BPCL has several committees of which the Advisory Committee is one of the most important. This consisted of officials, library staff and faculty representatives from each department. The committee meets twice a year to decide on several things like procurement of books. The meeting for this academic year is scheduled to be held within a month.

The Flip Side

 Wifi and AC

The BPCL has a Wi-fi system in place but it is a bit erratic at times. When asked about the irregular Wifi services, it was found that the library had no control over the Wifi services. It was the Computer Centre which controlled the service. As a result, the library had requested the computer centre to check the wifi systems and let them know of the router issues if any, so that they can request a budgetary allocation for buying new equipment for uninterrupted Wifi services in the library. Several students had complained about the non-functioning of ACs in the library last year. When asked about this issue, it was found that the AC in BPCL was part of a centralized cooling system and that the library didn’t have any control over it. Last year, there was some destruction in the main AC unit and as a result, the air conditioning of the whole building was disrupted. Later on, it was told that the non-payment of annual maintenance charges by the institute due to budgetary constraints, may have been the reason for the non-functioning of ACs for the rest of the year. 

Security

The library has faced a security crunch because of the reduction of security guards throughout the institute. Earlier, BPCL had security manning it right from 9 AM when it opens till 10 PM, the closing time. But now, it had a security guard only from 2 PM to 10 PM and the library had to manage its security with its staff from 9 AM to 2 PM. And hence employing extra security guards for the reading room wasn’t possible until the budget allocated to the security of the institute is increased. 

Allowance of own books

Another issue raised by several students was that they weren’t allowed to bring their books inside the library. To this, HOD(Library) said that he was personally in favour of allowing students to bring in their books inside the library. He added that he had written a letter to the previous director about the same along with detailed procedures of the mechanism which can be implemented but unfortunately, the proposal was turned down by the then director Prof. S.K. Sarangi. 

Misplaced Books

You grab a book from the library off the shelf, flip through the pages, then go to put it back and realize you forgot where it came from. Also sometimes if the book is in demand, you try to hide it somewhere else just to have a right on it. Misplaced books frustrate patrons and give librarians migraines. The whole system relies on books being precisely in their proper location. On this, HOD(library) said that in such cases it becomes arduous for the personnel’s to ferret out the book. As a result, the urge of the people and the time consumed is large. To combat this problem all the trainees are allocated with a particular no. of self to arrange books on their original position in the morning. 

 

Dress Code

The HOD (Library) had the following to say about it:

There are no such rules specifically prescribed for the library, then to there is one unjust barrier regarding the dress code for the students in the library. Thus, guards keep a check on the decency of  dressing, by not allowing shorts or any other informal clothing. I myself think that this precept should not be practised, so if there are any issues regarding the dress code, students are allowed to contact me and seek the permission.

 

Future Plans

The central library is to shift to the Golden Jubilee Building once it is completed. Also, there are plans to expand the collection of the library with the bifurcation of the budget which wasn’t done earlier. The library has been doing its best on the services front with all possible open-source software being employed in order to aid the students and users of the central library. HOD(Library) added:

I assure that the students of NITR are getting the best possible services in the library and that it is at par with the IITs. If they need anything, they can submit their requests in written and the library would do its best to fulfill the request.

 

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