The Jawaharlal Nehru University has urged students and teachers rallying against the shifting of a library to cooperate as the campus is undergoing upgradation to meet its expanding academic functions, disciplines, and programmes.
The teachers and students have alleged that the Centre for Historical Studies Library is being vacated and replaced by a new Special Centre for Tamil Studies. The material of the library is being shifted to another library, students alleged.The university had earlier clarified that the library is not being closed but relocation has been always taking place in the JNU.
In a second clarification in the last four days, the university on Tuesday said the administration is "tirelessly working for a better, more efficient and effective management of knowledge resources, including easy access to books, journals, materials and databases for the benefit of the entire JNU community". "Until then, better management and optimal utilization of available space are critical for the growth of the university. A university-wide space audit is currently underway to optimize the existing infrastructure. The university is also in conversation with several central agencies and state governments such as Assam, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odissa, Tamil Nadu and others in promoting various Indian languages and towards establishing a School of Indian Languages and Civilization," the statement read.
"There is heavy pressure for space as many new programmes are being introduced and new faculty members have joined. The faculty and students concerned are requested to cooperate in this regard," it added. Though the statement did not mention the vacating of the CHS library. However, it comes after the student community at the varsity has started a signature campaign to "Save the Centre for Historical Studies Library in JNU"
The students have alleged that the library is being vacated and replaced by a new Special Centre for Tamil Studies. "Hundreds of books are being packed and shifted to the EXIM Bank library, which barely has a few dozen shelves. There is also the issue of seating space and access for the students from the department and visiting researchers. This amounts to the destruction of one of the best department libraries for history in all of India, and a lifelong resource for students, alumni and visiting scholars. The decision was made without any consultation and knowledge of the CHS student community," the students said.
On Monday, the JNU Teachers' Association expressed its concerns over the translocation of a library to an adjoining building to create space for the Centre for Tamil Studies, saying "cramming" both libraries into the same premises will lead to loss of resources. In a statement, the teachers' body demanded an immediate cessation of any process of shifting the Centre for Historical Studies (CHS) to the premises of the EXIM Bank Library.