Books are man’s friends for long and libraries are hot spots where such friendships have been nurtured through time. World over, libraries are looked at as springboards from where knowledge can be digested and shared. If one goes to search for a book in the library, chances are that one will end up browsing through many.
There are fifteen government libraries in Goa and a few private libraries in Goa catering to the thirst of readers. Books in libraries in Goa date to the period before the advent of the Portuguese in Goa. With government-run libraries being treasure troves of history, elders, who mostly frequent libraries, are of the opinion that now is the time to inculcate reading habits in youngsters.
Anjali Amonkar, a Goa-based writer, thinks that the habit of reading amongst youngsters is still in the nascent stage. Anjali is of the opinion that there are not many readers from the age group of 20 to 35 years since the last twenty years. A majority of people in this age group are into academic reading, according to Anjali.
“With smartphones being used by everyone, people find it convenient to Google everything and read online. Adolescent age group children and the people above 40 read books,” avers Anjali.
She says that “life is now fast-paced and that the youth do not have time to read voluminous books. They prefer content which is more direct and to the point rather than sifting through in-depth books.”
Panjim-based author and journalist, Alexandre Moniz Barbosa, however, is optimistic about the book reading scenario among youngsters. “As a regular visitor to the Central Library in Panjim, I can say that despite the digital era making micro-blogging acceptable, people have not given up the reading habit. It is also heartening to see that parents do promote reading among children”.
“It is only by reading that people will be able to broaden their thinking. It helps give a better perspective of issues as one can grasp all arguments and take enlightened decisions,” opined Barbosa.
“It is the duty of parents to inculcate the reading habit in their children from a young age. Books are the source of knowledge and everyone must read them”, said former librarian and author Maria De Lourdes Bravo Da Costa Rodrigues.
Rodrigues is of the opinion that there still are people and students who visit libraries to refer certain books. “With improvement in technology, the young generation is reading more online content these days,“ concluded Rodrigues.
Dr Jayanti Nayak, who writes in Konkani also thinks that elders should encourage and push children to read books. "People should encourage their children to visit libraries and book exhibitions. Purchasing and gifting a book to someone is always a better option over buying clothes or other entertaining gifts,” professed Jayanti.
Maria De Lourdes Bravo Da Costa Rodrigues, Former librarian & author
“According to my observations, general reading among people of younger age group has diminished as compared to the last twenty years. Youth read more things related to their academic subjects and leisure reading is done by a very small section. As a writer, I feel that good quality content is also needed to be produced by writers,” added Jayanti.
According to the information sourced by Gomantak Times through Right To Information (RTI) Act, there are a total of 7,90,84 registered members in the 15 Government libraries in Goa and these reading houses have a total of 6,36,351 books. The Krishnadas Shama Goa State Central Library in Panaji has a total of 3,01,171 books.