Being in an engineering college, and seeing the scarcity of text books, i have a first hand experience of how much difference it makes, in the lives of students. There’s no doubt, the young and brilliant minds we all happen to see in our colleagues, as a matter of fact tend to accumulate dust over the years. the rigorous training we all undergo, during the preparations for IIT JEE and other engineering exams, had sharpened our minds, to an extent where i at the least tended to believe i am no less than an Einstein 🙂
But after joining IIT my enthusiasm seems to have taken a big dip. Though our central library easily boasts of being the largest technical library in whole of Asia, with 3 lacs and above books in its collection, the problem of laying my hands on a single textbook never seems to fade. what with managing to pass 5 semesters, just reading from my dearest batchmates xeroxed notes —Let me confess frankly, there have been times when those tiny little scribbles at the bottom of the xeroxed notes have proven to be life saviour in understanding the hyperbole of complex equations and roman names of biological terms. it must have been the good insight of the poor guy who notes and clings to each word spoken out of prof’s pursed lips, to save us all at the end of the day/exam. had he not written those vague ideas and notes on some african tribal people in a course on neurophysiology, we would all have scored half of what we did— and this all, just because we have usually got no book to read or consult from. Being in the department of biotechnology, surely is a barrier to buy books, as each of them usually costs more than 2000 bucks. however, almost ALL the books are available in ebook format. but cant help it guys, i just cant connect with ebooks. the traditional feel of a book in hand, surely fires up my senses and conscioiusness.
This lack of availability of atleast textbooks is something i believe students from all the colleges face. On a discussion on the same issue, i came to know of a very novel idea, which apparently is widespread in bengal’s state run colleges. you may call it a book bank system, and it was for sometime also implemented in the colleges of south india.
The system is, that at the time of enrollment of a student into a college, a one time fee of Rs. 3000 is deposited, solely for the purpose of providing all the textbooks in the whole course of 8/10 semesters. The huge no. of books purchased won’t create a problem of storage space, as the textbooks can be passed on to each batch of fresh juniors in each department.
The college can contact the publishers to provide the books with downpayment, and subsequent paying of installments with fresh enrollments.
This way each student will have his own copy of textbook, and the chaos of running after notes and standing in queue outside xerox centres will be avoided. in fact with a book always nearby to look upon, more and more students would take more active participation in the course lectures, and can come up with doubts to ask. ( i can already see some murmurs in your mind about this doubt thing but remember, if you do not know the subject, you can not ask doubts 🙂 )
To have a discussion on the possibilty of such a venture, in our college, i met our assistant librarian. he was quite impressed by the idea, (i do not claim the idea to be my brainchild 🙂 ), and suggested to implement it first in my hall of residence. But i strongly feel, its quite tough to implement it in our hostel, and feel the feasibility would be much higher if some authorities propose to students to make this move. or In fact, if the student body approaches the authorities with this idea in a united effort, i am sure it will be implemented very soon. what the authorities fear is that students would raise a hullabaloo crying against shilling out some money, and asking library to do this from the library funds. believe me guys, its impossible for them to buy so many books.
everyone, who has given enough time to read this blog, do care to leave any comment or suggestions. i strongly believe this book bank thing should be implemented as soon as possible.
adios and a happy new year. 🙂