Saturday, May 19, 2018


Nan Li, Nan Li

Advancing library sciences – an Interview with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai

The Wiley Library Awards in India brings together the best of library and information sciences. Dr. R. Prabakaran who accepted an award on behalf of the institution shares more on current trends of library sciences in India.

To bring together and honor the best in the field of library and information sciences, Wiley India held the second Wiley Library Awards in December last year. The initiative, the first and only of its kind in the country, received a record total of 145 nominations vying for three awards. The winners were determined by an independent jury comprised of highly respected library professionals who’ve made groundbreaking contributions in advancing the library sciences.

The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, beat out 80 other nominees to win the Digitally Transformed Academic Library Award. Here are some thoughts from Dr. R. Prabakaran who accepted the award on behalf of the institution.


The jury and winners of the Wiley Library Awards 2017, India

Q: Congratulations on winning the “Digitally Transformed Research Library Award” at the recent Wiley Library Awards in India. Can you share with our readers an introduction to you and your library?

  1. I am extremely happy to receive the Wiley Library Award 2017. I have been working in the TIFR Library since 1991. The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) was established in 1945 and carries out basic research in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Computer Science and Science Education. It has centers in Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

The Library plays a very important role in supporting the academic programs of the institute. The primary aim of the library is to develop, organize, preserve and deliver information and scholarly resources for the TIFR scientific community. The library explores and implements new technologies to provide effective information services, expand the library’s resource collection, and develop .

Q: What are your thoughts on the current state of research libraries in India, and your plans for the next two-three years?

  1. Most of the Libraries have adapted to the use of technology, acquiring digital resources and offering online / ICT-based services to users. At TIFR, the Scientific Information Resource Centre (formerly Library) has plans to expand its online services by digitizing the rare books and volumes of its holdings, which are not available digitally anywhere.

Right now, the TIFR Library is a hybrid library, where both print and digital resources are available. The majority of our collection is now in digital form to cater to the needs of the changing behaviors in how users consume content. The institute has provided facilities, including Wi-Fi, to access electronic resources from wherever users are, 24/7.

We have plans to continually upgrade the systems and services to meet the current and future requirements.


For India to be truly developed, research across disciplines is key and research libraries play an important role in this. I am pleased to note that our efforts in digitizing our research library is now known to the fraternity at large across India. It only spurs us to do more to aid research efforts in India.

Q: What do you think is an important skill for a librarian to develop now and for the future?

  1. A librarian should develop skills for the management of electronic resources, application IT and negotiation skills for today and the future. Today, librarians need to learn, evolve and adapt to new techniques and improve upon services.

Q: What inspires you to do what you do every day? What is your favorite part of being a librarian?

  1. Users’ satisfaction and their achievements in research motivates us to do our work every day. My favorite part of being a Librarian is providing timely information when users need it.

For more information about the Wiley Library Awards 2017, please visit

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