Chennai: The library of the University of Madras is now embroiled in yet another controversy with senior professors raising questions about the timing of the post-centenary celebrations slated for September 25. The fete takes place even as the library has remained headless for about four years with several big ticket projects struggling to take off. Sources in the university said that the celebrations have been organised 5 years after the library completed its centenary in 2007. About Rs 9 lakh had been sanctioned for the event. However, what has raised eyebrows is the timing, as vice-chancellor G Thiruvasagam’s tenure is set to end in October.
Speaking to Express, a senior professors said the historic library has been in neglect as far as administration is concerned. While the last full-fledged librarian retired in 2008, the post remained vacant ever since. This was despite two rounds of advertisements calling for applications. Also, there was an attempt recently by the administration to promote a deputy librarian to the post of librarian, which was defeated.
Statutes, a Syndicate member pointed out, clearly stated that the post could only be filled by direct recruitment and not through promotion. A senior Senate member said the digitization of theses that began in 2006 was halted half way for two years and has now been restarted after negotiations with the contractor.
This apart, while an UGC notification in 2009 provided for electronic submission of theses by students through an MoU with the INFLIBNET centre, no efforts have been made to carry forward this project.
“Over 70 Universities have already done it. If MU had gone ahead, assistance would have been provided for installing anti-plagiarism software in the library, improving the overall quality of research scholars,” said a senior Senate member, who wished not to be named. While the V-C had promised the installation of the software last year, efforts on this front had been wanting, the member said.
Another project that has failed to take off is the introduction of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags for efficient cataloguing, now in place in almost all major varsities in the country.
Senior professors said while the focus should have been on recruitment of a qualified librarian and the implementation of all modernization projects, for which Rs 3.20 crore was allocated, the varsity was going ahead in a hurried manner with the celebrations, five years after the library completed its centenary. Vice-chancellor G Thiruvasagam could not be contacted for comments.