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THE GENESIS

North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) was set up as a Central University by an Act of Parliament and notified on 26th May 1973 and formally inaugurated on 19th July 1973. North-Eastern Hill University is the first Central University to be established in the North-Eastern region of India. The objectives of the University are: to disseminate and advance knowledge by providing instructional and research facilities in such branches of learning as it may deem fit; to pay special attention to the improvement of the social and economic conditions and welfare of the people of the hill areas of the North-Eastern region, and in particular, their intellectual, academic and cultural advancement.

The jurisdiction of the University extended to the States of Meghalaya, Nagaland and the erstwhile Union Territories of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram with the headquarters of the University located at Shillong as per the Act of Parliament. With the establishment of Nagaland University on 6th September 1994 the jurisdiction of NEHU over Nagaland ceased. Similarly, the jurisdiction of NEHU over Mizoram ended with the establishment of Mizoram University at Aizawl on July 02, 2001. The University’s jurisdiction now extends to the state of Meghalaya with the Headquarters Campus at Shillong and the Tura Campus at Tura, West Garo Hills District, Meghalaya. The NEHU Tura Campus was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister (Late) Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao in February 1996 with two academic departments – Department of Garo and Department of English.

The University Campus, located amidst rolling hills covered by pine forests, is one of the most beautiful in the country and, perhaps, in the whole world. The University is still in the process of completing the infrastructural basis for all its core activities. Most of the faculty members now reside within the NEHU Campus and a large number of students have residential facilities on the Campus itself. There is a distinct possibility that national level institutions like the Indira Gandhi National Open University, Indian Council of Social Science Research, Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, and the Sports Authority of India will set up their regional centres within the NEHU Campus. With this, NEHU will have a suitably diverse academic community for a vibrant interactive scholarly life.

EARLY PHASE OF LIBRARY DEVELOPMENT

The North-Eastern Hill University Library started in October 1973 with a collection of 600 volumes and a staff strength of one Assistant Librarian, one Lower Divisional Assistant, one Peon and one Cleaner. Initially, the Library, along with the Department of English, was housed in a building located at Upper Lachaumiere Hill, Shillong, and the faculty members of the university made great efforts to build up the collection which stood at 1,700 volumes by the end of 1973. The Library was soon shifted in February 1974 to the Mayurbhanj Palace located in the midst of verdant and scenic surroundings in Nongthymmai, Shillong. The Mayurbhanj Palace, maintained as a summer palace, belonged to the erstwhile Maharaja of Mayurbhanj, Orissa, India. The year 1974 also witnessed impressive growth and development of the Library with the appointment of Prof. B.C. Kesevan who was a renowned practising Librarian. His efforts laid a strong foundation for the NEHU Library’s tradition and services which earned the goodwill of all members of the university community, library users and visitors.

By the end of 1975, the Library emerged as a distinct university library consisting of the Central Library at Mayurbhanj Palace and two departmental libraries for the Department of History and Department of Economics located at Horse Shoe Building, Lower Lachaumiere, Shillong. From mid-1975 till 1978, the Library was under the charge of two university faculty members, Dr. Mrinal Miri, Philosophy Department and (Late) Dr. M.K. Khare, Zoology Department. In 1976, the Library extended its opening hours from 9.00 A.M. to 6.00 P.M. By the end of 1977, the NEHU Library served the following full-fledged academic `departments: Botany, Chemistry, Economics, English, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, and Zoology.

THE TRANSITION

The year 1978 was a milestone for the NEHU Library with the joining of Shri J.C. Binwal as the University Librarian, the setting up of Nagaland Campus at Kohima, and the establishment of the Agriculture College at Medziphema, Nagaland. This was followed by the establishment of the Mizoram Campus at Aizawl and Pachhunga University College, Aizawl in 1979. The NEHU Library System witnessed tremendous growth and consisted of the Central Library, ten departmental libraries, two campus libraries, and two libraries of Agriculture College and Pachhunga University College, together holding a total collection of 69,826 volumes as on 31st March 1978.

While putting in sustained efforts towards strengthening its collection, streamlining the routine functions, creating special collections, and implementing better user services, the NEHU Library also made considerable academic as well as professional contributions by solely shouldering the teaching responsibility for the Certificate Course in Library Science conducted by the Department of Continuing Education, NEHU. Altogether four Certificate Courses were conducted from 1979 to 1983 with the aim to provide both theoretical and practical training to the untrained library personnel working in different libraries in North-East India. A total of 75 candidates who successfully completed the courses were awarded Certificate in Library Science (C.Lib.Sc.), and most of them are now gainfully employed in libraries .

THE AUTOMATION PHASE

A turning point in the transition from manual system to computerised system began with the library automation programme which took a few years to be fully completed. The Computer Unit was started in 1988 with a WIPRO PC800 computer and printer. By March 1989, the Computer Unit started the computerisation of key house-keeping functions using the CDS/ISIS package.

The housekeeping functions and user services/transactions of the Central Library have been fully computerised following the completion of the retrospective data conversion in 2003. The work of data entry of new books/current journals is taken up on routine basis. The Central Library has also started the process of bar-coding of the Course Books and the Local/North-East collections, and bar-coding of the entire library holdings is expected to be taken up very soon.

THE PRESENT SCENARIO

CENTRAL LIBRARY, SHILLONG

The Central Library of the North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) is now located amidst lush green pine trees in the heart of the NEHU Campus, Shillong, Meghalaya. The NEHU Central Library was relocated to its new building during September-October 2004 from its earlier location at Mayurbhanj Complex, Nongthymmai, Shillong where it had been housed for nearly 30 years in the majestic Mayurbhanj Palace. Following the shifting of the Central Library to the University Campus, all the departmental libraries and the library of the School of Life Sciences located within the NEHU Campus have been recalled to the Central Library.

The Central Library is now equipped with high-end computers and other electronic and audio-visual equipment to provide seamless in-house and online services. The Central Library is an active partner of the UGC-INFONET Consortium, and currently provides access to almost all online journals and other resources available through the UGC-INFONET programme. The Central Library, with a stock of over 2,30,000 books and back-volumes, including a strong collection of works on North-East India, has emerged as a major regional resource centre for scholars engaged in teaching and research.

CAMPUS LIBRARY, TURA

A Campus Library located at Tura, West Garo Hills District, Meghalaya caters to the needs of the students, research scholars, faculty and administrators in Tura Campus, NEHU. The Campus Library was started with Shri S.P. Mukherjee as the Assistant Librarian, and on his retirement in May 1997, Dr. A.K. Kundu, Sr. Assistant Librarian took charge. The Campus Library is presently managed by Dr. A.K. Kundu, Deputy Librarian supported by one Professional Assistant, one Semi-Professional Assistant, two peons repatriated from the erstwhile Nagaland Campus, one LDC, and one peon on contract basis. Dr. A.K. Kundu, who has several articles published in learned journals and seminar papers to his credit, is also actively involved with the teaching, research and educational tour programmes of the academic departments located in Tura Campus.

The Campus Library at Tura presently provides crucial support services to four academic departments – Department of Garo, Department of English, Department of Education, and Department of Rural Development and Agricultural Production. The Department of Management Studies is expected to be started in July 2006. Within a short span of time, the Campus Library has assumed a significant role in this part of the state by also catering to the needs of teachers of affiliated colleges and allied institutions, in addition to providing routine services to the students, research scholars, faculty and staff of NEHU Tura Campus.

The Campus Library has about 11,000 volumes of books and bound volumes of periodicals, and currently subscribes to 156 journals. The average number of users consulting the Campus Library is 210 per day. The Campus Library acquired the LIBSYS v.4 (an Integrated Library Management Software) in 2002 and retrospective data conversion for the entire collection was successfully completed by June 2004. Five computers are now available for users, and OPAC facilities have been extended to all four departments and the office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Tura Campus. The Campus Library also provides reprographic services to the Tura Campus community.

The Campus Library will be operationalising all the modules of LIBSYS v.4 and start the bar-coding of books and journals very shortly.