The Library of the India International Centre established in 1962 is the magnet that draws writers, readers, researchers to its quality collection and beautiful ambience. The Library houses about 50,000 volumes on Philosophy, Psychology, Religion, Social Sciences, Language and Literature, Art and Culture, History, Biography, and has a good number of updated collection of reference books. The Library also has three valuable special collections: “India Collections”; ‘Bilgrami Collection’; and ‘Himalayan Club Collection’ and has completed the documentation work on the leading architect ‘Walter Sykes George’ containing a collection of papers, maps, photographs, correspondence etc.
The ‘India Collection’ consists of books, maps and documents on India numbering about 3000 and spans the period from the 17th century to 1947. The Collection includes translations of original Persian works relating to Mughal history and British works on Indian history, archaeology, philosophy, religion, customs and folklore, the arts, sciences, biography and literature.
The earliest publication in the collection is a valuable edition of Philip Baldaeus’ ‘True and Exact Description of the Most Celebrated East India Coasts of Malabar and Coromandel’ printed in 1672. Also included in this collection is Col. Tod's ‘Annals of Rajasthan’ published in 1829. The collection has books by Mildred Archer, B.H. Baden Powell, A.L. Basham, J. Bradshaw, Percy Brown, R. Forbes and M. Wheeler among others. There is also a valuable collection of journals, newspapers, dictionaries and lexicons on Indian languages and dialects.
A special section of reference and rare books on Indian studies donated by Sayeed Bilgrami known as ‘Bilgrami Collection’ has about 700 books on history, travels, biography, literature, philosophy, religion, customs and folklore.
The ‘Himalayan Club Collection’, consists of about 550 books on various aspects of the Himalayas including flora and fauna, mountaineering and travel literature.
Walter Sykes George (1881–1962) was an English architect active in India during the first half of the 20th century, most known for being part of the team of architects who designed New Delhi, the new capital of India, from 1911-1931. The Library has completed the documentation work of available resources named as ‘Walter George Collection’ containing letters, correspondence, photographs, papers, maps etc.
The Library receives about 195 periodicals and newspapers, both national and international through subscriptions, gifts or in exchange. Of these, the scholarly/academic periodicals are bound annually and preserved for reference. The audio-visual collection of the library has about 2000 CD/DVDs and has a strong archive of audio-visual material on various programmes organised by the IIC. The Library also houses the assistive-technology equipment to facilitate better access to such audio-visual material. The Library also has the facility to read the books using ‘Kindle’. (List of sites with Public Domain Resources in Audio format and Kindle Books)
The books in the Library are classified according to the Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme and develop the catalogue of books into machine-readable form on ‘VIRTUA: A VTLS Library Management Software Package’. The Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) is available on the Web, which not only provides bibliographic information on the books, but also provides bibliographical information on the articles from the selective editorial books.
Being a member of the DELNET (Developing Library Network), the Library has an advantage of accessing bibliographical information on books and can borrow books on Inter-Library-Loan from different libraries of Delhi and some of the Libraries in other parts of the Country.
The Library has access to the e-resources available on JSTOR. It also has ventured to provide selective access to e-books, articles etc. in different formats that are part of the Open Access platforms through the e-book management system ‘CALIBRE’.
ART REFERENCE LIBRARY:
Art lovers will be glad to know that the upper basement of the Kamaladevi Complex now houses an exclusive Arts Reference Library which was inaugurated by the President of the Centre, Mr. Soli J. Sorabjee, on 1 August 2014.
The collection of 1,400 books, magazines, art catalogues, posters and pamphlets cover subjects like architecture, ceramics, conservation, drawing, fashion, furniture design, glass work, jewellery, metal work, paintings, photography and sculpture, textiles, folk art, handicraft and iconography to name just a few. It also has about 200 books on cookery, some donated by Mrs Bhicoo Manekshaw, whose association with the Centre dates back to 1973 to the time of her passing away in 2013. It is to her that we owe the very popular cookbook published by the IIC in collaboration with Niyogi Books entitled Secrets from the Kitchen: Fifty Years of Culinary Experience at the India International Centre.
Six hundred books have been taken from the main collection of the IIC. Others have been donated by members and the Programme Division. We especially thank Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan for donating books from her valuable collection, and Mrs Usha Malik for giving us books from Shri Keshav Malik’s rich collection, including his own works. We are also grateful to the Foundation of Museum of Modern Art (FOMA), Karachi, who have donated over 78 books. FOMA is an independent Trust whose main aims are to promote the study of art in its historical and contemporary contexts, and set up museums of modern and contemporary art and art libraries.
Framed pictures by Neeta Gulati hang on the surrounding walls. She started painting water-colours a year ago and has developed a unique decorative style. Neeta joined the Centre as Store Helper in 2005. Later, she joined the Programme Division and is now working on entering the daily engagements for the digital board. Neeta is speech and hearing impaired, but has not let this stand in the way of her passion for painting. Mainly self-taught, she has completed a year’s course in art and painting.