8.3.1 Assistance to Centrally Sponsored Libraries (Jawahar Bal Bhawans and Nehru Yuvak Kendras & Aurobindo Bal Kendras):
The Administrative Committee recommended that the Jawahar Bal Bhawans set up by the Jawaharlal memorial Society might be assisted with. The foundation invited requirements from the Bal Bhawans and spent Rs.13,000/- for each for the supply of books and reading materials during the year 1974-75. During the year 1975-76, the Foundation covered 27 Bal Bhawans in different States/ Union Territories. During 1977-78, 15 JBBs were assisted.
During 1975-76, 95 NYKs were served as book distribution centres by the Foundation. The Dy. Programme Advisers/ Controlling Officers and Youth Coordinators of the States were requested to send their book lists according to the felt need of the community. Most of them had not submitted the list during the period. During 1976-77, the Foundation covered 120 Nehru Yubak Kendras as centres of distribution of books and reading materials34. From the year 1978-79, a major revision comes onto effect in the present scheme of assistance. Nehru Yubak Kendras, Jawahar Bal Bhawans, Aurobinda Bal Kendras, Bhawagan Mahavir Jayanti Libraries etc. are grouped together to constitute the Centrally Sponsored Libraries which receives assistance from the Foundation. It was also decided that some reputed voluntary organizations recognized by the Government of India should also get assistance under the scheme35.
The tempo of getting assistance in this category slowed down during the year. The enthusiasm to run the rural library services seems to be weaning among some of the centrally sponsored libraries. The Foundation rendered assistance to 113 Nehru Yubak Kendras, 7 Bal Bhawans and Bal Kendras and one voluntary organisation to the extent of Rs.0.73 lakhs.36
Aurobindo Bal Kendras (Centrally Sponsored Libraries):
The Ministry of Education, Government of India, approved the setting up of 16 Bal Kendras in connection with the birth centenary celebration of Sri Aurobindo. These Bal Kendras were to be set up in the cities of Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad.37
The Foundation recommended on recommendation of the Administrative Committee extended children’s books worth Rs.10,000.00 to each Bal Kendra. In the mean-time the foundation assisted the Bal Kendra in the Raj Bhawan of Himachal Pradesh with children’s books worth Rs.5,000.00. It also gifted 240 titles of children’s books in different languages to the Mahakoshal Smarak Trust, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.38 Till 1975-76, the Foundation covered 3 al Kendras in the state of West Bengal.
8.3.2 Assistance to Rural Book Deposit Centres run by Universities (Direct Book Assistance):
If the benefits of public library service are to reach the vast number fo less educated and neo-literate persons in small towns and villages, arrangement should be made to deliver books written in simple language on subjects of popular interest at their doorsteps. All established libraries and reputed voluntary organizations engazed in social welfare activities are engaged in organizing this service. Assistance under this scheme is given in the form of books, cycles, rickshaws, trunks, bags etc. the recipient institutions are expected to circulate books from one book deposit centre to another with the help of cheap mode of transport or free service of volunteers where library service has not reached a rural area, a book deposit centre is to be set up in the village and where library coverage has been extended to a village, door-to door service is to be organized in co-operation with the voluntary agencies and paid workers engaged in implementing adult education programmes.
On recommendation by the State Government of West Bengal, the Foundation agreed to a comprehensive plan formulated by the Viswa Bharati University to cover up 100 villages through mobile library services during the Fifth Five Year Plan. Viswa-Bharati agreed to bear the cost of establishment and the Foundation will supply books, reading materials, bicycles, careers etc. during the year 1974-75, Viswa-Bharati had drawn up a scheme to strengthen 10 rural library centres to cover up 30 villages.
During 1975-76, the foundation assisted 10 rural libraries set up by Viswa-Bharati covering 30 villages.39 Negotiations were initiated with the Gujrat Vidyapith for setting up of rural libraries in the backward Adibasi areas. Another was also initiated to serve the rural community in the hill areas with Gurukul Kangri Viswa-Vidyalaya, Hardwar, Uttar Pradesh40.
The Foundation assisted two projects sponsored by the Viswa-Bharati and the Jabalpur University during the year 1976-77. The Viswa-Bharati university, Shantiniketan, decided to cover 100 villages with 25 library centres in the course of the Fifth Five Year Plan. It has so far opened 15 centers which received assistance from the Foundation. Jabalpur University started a library centre for the children of the age group 3 to 6. The Foundation supplied children’s books to the centre41.
During the year 1986-87, the Foundation rendered assistance to Viswa Bharati University to support their library extension activities in 25 centres
8.3.3 Encouragement to Rural Adult Literacy Work: The State of West Bengal informed the Ministry of Education and social Welfare, Government of India that the village of Ghojadanga in the district of 24-Parganas (now in North 24-Parganas) had succeeded in total literacy through a crash programme. As a token of appreciation and encouragement to the neo-literates of the village the Foundation sanctioned a sum of Rs.10,000.00 to the public library at Ghojadanga. The money was utilized for the purchase of books and furniture of the said library42.
The Foundation sanctioned another amount of Rs.7,000.00 as a token of appreciation for the same during the year 1974-75.43