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Ernakulam Public Library joins National Digital Library of India

The digital library and the renovated reference section of EPL were inaugurated on Saturday.

The more than 150-year-old Ernakulam Public Library (EPL) has joined the prestigious National Digital Library of India (NDLI), a digital repository of learning resources from across the country and abroad.

NDLI is a National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) Project developed by the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur under the aegis of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

EPL has started the process of digitization with the digital archiving of newspaper reports on the library, bulletins, souvenirs, past events conducted by the library and in-house publications.

“To begin with, we have 500 resources, including printed and audio-visual materials, on the NDLI platform. The entire materials at our disposal will be gradually made available on the platform access to which will be either restricted or public depending on the consent of the authors,” said T.K. Sadasivan, treasurer of EPL and convener of the digitization process.

The digital library and the renovated reference section of EPL were inaugurated on Saturday.

EPL, which was founded in 1870, boasts over 12,000 members and 1.80 lakh titles. It remains a treasure trove of invaluable books and documents, including rare writings on palm leaves.

“The books can be digitally published in the public domain either with the consent of the author or once the copyrights expire 60 years after the death of the author concerned. We will publish our entire collection digitally in compliance with these conditions,” said Mr. Sadasivan.

Besides, rare photographs, articles, speeches, and even street plays will be converted into digital format and made available on NDLI.

The renovated reference section of EPL, which previously was cramped for space will bring cheers to its users. It now has double the original space. The library already has a very efficient RFID system for borrowing and returning books. While the entire catalogue of books is internationally accessible facilitating online reservations, members can also extend the date of returning the books twice remotely.

“There has been a considerable spike in membership since the onset of COVID-19,” said Mr. Sadasivan.

The library also has three extension counters at Infopark Kochi, High Court and Greater Cochin Development Authority.

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