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Libraries in India: Independent Study

August 26, 2013

As a graduate of the University of Western Ontario’s Master of Library and Information Science program, I recently participated in a three month internship with the Hippocampus Reading Foundation in Bangalore, India. Conducting a research project, I had the opportunity to visit several primary schools and assess the English language literacy skills of children.

This independent study paper, Libraries in India: Great Potential and Options for the Future, was written for the internship and reflects my time with Hippocampus, and my experiences in India.


India’s knowledge society is beset by inequalities, contradictions, and poverty (Liang, 2005). Despite a roaring economy, the Indian state has been unable to provide adequate social services to marginalized groups throughout the country (Madon & Sahay, 2002). In particular, India’s public library system is in a state of disrepair and is unable to provide meaningful library services to disadvantaged groups (Bhattacharjee, 2002). However, revitalized libraries have potential to bring about positive change (NKC, 2007), complement the formal education system, and improve literacy and reading skills (Knuth, 1994). One option for Indian library revitalization is to look towards libraries created by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as those created by the Hippocampus Reading Foundation (HRF), an NGO based in Bangalore (Pyati & Kamal, 2012). NGO libraries may be viable alternatives to the state’s neglected library system and can be more effective in providing library services to the disadvantaged. This paper incorporates key themes from a recent three month internship I completed with Hippocampus Reading Foundation in Bangalore and will be supplemented by personal reflections, observations, and experiences from my time in India.

Suggested Citation

Alan Kilpatrick. “Libraries in India: Great Potential and Options for the Future.” April 2013.

Available At

Please find the full paper available here. Feel free to download a copy.

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