About Central Library:
The genesis of the library in Visva-Bharati goes back to 1901, with the founding of the Brahmacharya asrama at Santiniketan. Rabindranath emphasized the use of books in the educational development of students. He personally supervised the selection of books, remaining alert to the needs of Santiniketan students and teachers and keeping himself aware of what was being published. When he found any lacunae in the kind of books available, he arranged to have books written and published.
The library at Visva-Bharati grew under his care with help coming from great minds all over the world. With the evolving of Visva-Bharati, Rabindranath toured Europe and America with the intention of collecting funds. He was often given large donations of books from universities, individuals and groups of well wishers. In 1921, Sylvian Levi and his colleagues at Strasbourg gifted a collection of French classics for the library at Santiniketan. In 1925, the Italian Government under Mussolini sent a handsome gift of Italian classics to Visva-Bharati as part of an offer of inter-cultural cooperation. Andree Karpeles would send books of art and periodicals like Studio International to Rabindranath who in turn gave these to the library. While in Japan, he collected a set of the famous Kokka magazine, renowned for its works of art.
The central library has today 413563 volumes of books, around 10,000 users and a daily transaction of 300 books. The library has a number of important collections; mention may be made of the collections of Prabodhchandra Bagchi, Pramatha Choudhuri, Humayun Kabir, Satikumar Chattopadhyay, Lila Ray, Ashok Rudra and Abanindranath Tagore.
Special Collection: Panchanan Mondal Collection: Central Library, Visva-Bharati
Panchanan Mondal collection housed at Central Library, Visva -Bharati is a collection of 2,410 books and periodicals donated in 1992 by Panchanan Mondal (1916-1998), a renowned professor of Dept. of Bengali, Visva- Bharati. Prof. Mondal, an expert in Bengali manuscripts, dedicated himself to collecting, preserving and editing of manuscripts.
The major part of the collection is of Ratan Library, Suri, Birbhum (W. Bengal). Ratan Library was the first Library of Suri, established in 1901, by Sibratan Mitra (1871-1939). Sibratan Mitra was a clerk by profession but was a very learned person. One will be astonished at the range of collections in a personal library, that too in 1930’s. It is said Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay wanted to purchase the collection of Ratan Libray for Calcutta University Library but Sibratan Mitra refused, I can part with my son, but not with the books. Prof. Mondal eventually collected these old manuscripts, books and periodicals of Ratan Library from Amalendu Mitra, grandson of Sibratan Mitra. Visva-Bharati should feel elated that it got possession of these valuable books.
Rabindranath Tagore was also an admirer of Sibratan Mitra. Sibratan Mitra was the first writer of biographical dictionary of Bengali writers called Bangiya Sahitya Sevak (1-16 vols). Rabindranath wrote about this, I have not seen such elaborate reference books on the life and works of Bengali writers. He was also aware of Ratan Library and wrote in a letter; when I will go to Suri I will visit your Library.
Out of 2,410 books of this collection 327 books are in English. All the English books are very rare in nature. There are some files of English periodicals such as The Fortnightly Review (1920); The Nineteenth Century and After (1919); The Edinburgh Review (1920), Dawn Magazine (1912); The Journal of the Asiatic Society (1848); The Dhaka Review (1911-14); The Islamic Review (1922) etc.
The English books are mainly of history, geography, biography, art, music, travel and English language and literature. Some important titles are given below:
1. A brief history of Indian People/W. W. Hunter (1886)
2. Alternative Geography Readers/W. & R. Chambers (1898)
3. The Geography of British India/George Smith (1882)
4. Arithmetic in Bengal/P. Ghosh (1881)
5. Reminiscences of the Great Mutiny 1857-59/William Forbes- Mitchell (1895)
6. Letters from a Mahratta Camp: during the Year 1809/Thomas Duer Broughton (1832)
7. The Story of Music/Frederick J Crowest (1902)
8. The Book of Good Counsels: from the Sanskrit of the “Hitopadesa”/Edwin Arnold (1893)
9. Cyclopaedia of English Literature, vol-1/William and Robert Chamber (1844)
10. A Woman of India : being the Life of Saroj Nalini /G. S. Dutta (1929)
There are 507 bound volumes of old and rare Bengali periodicals in Panchanan Mondal collection such as Tattwabodhini, Manasi, Mansi o Marmabani, Bharatbarsha, Bharati, Nabyabhart, Sahitya, Bangadarsham, Birbhumi Nabaparyay, Navajivan, Bharati o Balak, Pradip, Bamabodhini Patrika, Balak and others.
The collection holds 1,576 Bengali books. These are also of various subjects and rare in nature. Some of the rare books are mentioned below:
1. Bangiya Sahitya Sebak ( 1-16 vol) / Sibratan Mitra
2. Sadbhab Satak/ Krishna Chandra Majumdar
3. Kabi Krishna Chandra Majumdarer jibancharit/ Indu prakash Bandyopadhyay
4. Bangala bhasha o Sahitya bisayak baktrita/Rajnarayan Basu
5. Mohan Sudha/Sibratan Mitra
6. Bratamala bidhan/Panchanan Tarkaratna
7. Kafri mulluke/Baradakumar Pal
8. Charit Kirtan/Gaurihar Mitra
9. Sabdakalpa tarangini/Jagannath Prasad Mullick
10. Puspanjali/Sibnath Sastri
All the books and periodicals of Panchanan Mondal collection are kept in the 2nd floor of Central Library along with such other collections. The P M collection is much in demand.
Visva-Bharati Library has connected with the Campus wide Fiber Optic Network named GitanjaliNet (INFLIBNET). Library has 107 PCs, 39 printers, two copiers, one document camera, one LCD Projector, etc. for its Central Library and 12 Sectional Libraries. Library offers services and facilities of browsing e-journals, e-databases, e-books, to its users procured by the library. On-line searching, e-mail facilities for academic and research purposes, etc. have also been provided by the library. Library Management Software LibSys-7 (Unicode Web compliant) is being used for automating the library activity and services. All daily library operations and services i.e. Acquisition of library documents, Cataloguing, Serial control, Circulation, OPAC, etc. are going on smoothly by using this Library Management Software. Library catalogue database covering almost total holdings of Central Library and other Sectional Libraries are accessible now on Intranet throughout campus network (172.16.2.2) and the full library catalogue database will be available on Web very soon with the help of Computer Centre, Visva-Bharati. Presently, Visva-Bharati Library catalogue database holds 523003 titles of documents containing 641692 individual accession numbers including 43334 bound volumes of journals and 1591 theses. Number of ‘Current Periodicals-2012’ contains 314 titles. In addition, 3836 titles of purchased E-books and 70966 titles of subscribed E-books have been procured by the library from the world famous publishers/aggregators (Elsevier, Cambridge Online, Springer, Sage, Tailor & Francis, Oxford University Press and British Council Library) which have been linked with the library web page for browsing the e-books throughout the campus. The Visva-Bharati Library invites its faculties and research scholar’s to upload their publications in Library Repository and encourages the users’ to browse Open Access Resources through its library homepage.