Most public institutions today have their own in-house libraries. These libraries often contain highly specialized collection of literature related to the core mandates of the institution. For example, the Law Library of Bhutan National Legal Institute has a wide of variety of books related to law and other legal issues.
Similarly, the National Assembly of Bhutan also has its own library. It has a fairly large collection of books, journals, etc. that is expected to aid the NA members shoulder their legislative functions. The primary goal of the library is to provide non-partisan, reliable, and timely information on subjects that are relevant to parliamentary and constituency work.
A fairly well equipped library is indeed of great importance to a national institution like the ours. In the beginning, the NA Secretariat started with a small collection of books and gradually built on it by adding up relevant books over the years. Today, the library has a reference corner, a computer room, and a reading room, all together in one small hall.
The library took time to develop due to the lack of space, manpower, and adequate budget. The books are stored using Dewey Decimal System and lending is also done manually with a record register. The types of collections available in the library include: Acts of Kingdom of Bhutan, legislative books and references, old picture albums, books on Bhutan, newspaper collections, and government publications.
At the moment, the library is understaffed and is not in a position to provide all the necessary services to its clients. The services are limited to lending of books, references, and other informative materials to parliamentarians and secretariat staff. There is no membership system and borrowing for outsiders is not entertained. In the absence of a trained librarian and other assistants, no professional support such as assistance in research is provided.
The librarian based on the requisition put up by the users does the procurement of the books. The librarian also identifies and procures relevant publications available in the market within the allocated annual budget.
The immediate change the library would see is the introduction of professional cataloguing system. Since the library has limited collection of materials at the moment, it would be easier to start now. The NA is also striving to make the library environment more pleasant.
If adequate budget is made available, there are plans for expansion of the library room to create a separate reading area for parliamentarians, a reference desk, a rare book room, and an expanded area for visitors on tour. Plans are also there to install computer terminals for Internet access and library online catalogue, CD ROM station, and improve storage areas for collections.
Providing user guidance and assistance, including the development and maintenance of support systems such as catalogues and on-line help systems are also in the pipeline. If there were enough staffs, the library would also be able to provide research assistance for parliamentarians. There are also plans to upgrade paper news clipping to electronic press clip from local newspapers that provide e-news and cover the major subject areas of Parliament.
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