DEWAAN-E-AAM and Downloading Books from Walls: A Case Study

Kolkata | 29th January - 9th February 2017

“I have been looking for this book ever since I was a student”

Getting his hands on C.F.Andrews autobiography “What I owe to Christ” had been a life-long quest for Saibal Mukhopadhyay, a literary researcher. On the month of February 2019, within minutes of entering the National Digital Library of India stall at the Kolkata International Book Fair 2019, and registering as a user, we found an elated Mr. Mukhopadhyay, with the entire book in his back pocket. And he was not alone.

NDLI has been building to become ‘One library, All of India’ for over two years now. According to Prof. Joy Sen (Head of the Design and Architecture at IIT Kharagpur), the Book Fair is the People’s Forum – Deewan e Aam. Indeed, it was NDLI’s first foray into this People’s Forum and the people embraced it with an enormous footfall.

The registration and demonstration desk at the stall remained busy throughout the 10 day fair – with the most diverse and sometimes even unusual visitors. Learners from all ages and all walks of life were recorded queuing up at stall no. 383 throughout the days. Existing users dropped by with smiles and suggestions. New users registered on spot and were given a guided sneak-peak into NDLI’s treasure of 2 Crore+ content. Special attention went to a selection of NDLI’s social media posts – featured on the outer facade – where a quick QR code scan would take the visitors to the relevant content on NDLI.

The NDLI Club desk in the stall held interactions with k-12 students, and their parents on schools and pedagogical integration with NDLI as a platform. Special mention goes to the quiz leaflets that were distributed around the Book Fair, which proved to be particularly popular. However, NDLI’s activities in Kolkata Book Fair was not limited to the stall. Prof. Partha Pratim Das, ( Joint PI, NDLI) held a workshop for regional publishers. Presided over by Tridib Kumar Chattopadhyay, (General Secretary, Publisher’s and Book Seller’s Guild), this workshop engaged, explained and encouraged Publishers to embrace and commit more resources and purpose to the publishing of e-books. In a lively discussion that followed his address, Prof. Das discussed with the publishers the scope of NDLI and its unique expertise. The talk also spoke of possible ways NDLI can support and assist the publishing industry through their inevitable journey into the digital age.

“We are here to show what the reading of tomorrow is going to be”, summed up Prof. Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, (Director, IIT Kharagpur and Principal Investigator, NDLI).

The library’s first steps into the Deewan-e-Aam was a huge success that garnered much love, and many insights. However, for NDLI it is always about tomorrow. Kolkata’s International Book Fair has traditionally been about friendship and a unique relationship with learning. The seeds have been sown, the flower bed moistened. For NDLI too, the true value of the friendships and relationships fostered during Kolkata International Book Fair 2019 lie in the cradle of tomorrow.

We look forward to be able to learn, share and grow together, as the people’s library of India and stand for books as well as learning without walls - today, tomorrow, forever.

NDLI at International Kolkata Book Fair 2019