E-Pustakalaya is an education-focused digital library containing full-text documents, books, images, videos, audio files, and interactive educational software that can be accessed through an intranet or on the Internet. OLE Nepal started the development of E-Pustakalaya in 2008 with the aim to improve childrens’ reading skills and develop a reading culture in schools by giving them free and open access to age-appropriate reading materials and to enable students to do research projects and promote habit of independent inquiry. Since E-Pustakalaya went live in 2009, teachers as well as other adults have also benefited widely from various teaching resources, and educational materials in agriculture, health, environment, local technologies, etc.
Materials in E-Pustakalaya are organized in six major sections described below:
- Language and Arts: Adult and childrens’ literature in Nepali, English and other Nepali languages, along with books and materials on different art forms, movements and artists, and childrens’ arts and crafts materials.
- Course-related materials: School textbooks, supplementary readings by grade and subject, and interactive learning software.
- Reference materials: Dictionary, school wikipedia, maps, atlas, government documents
- General educational materials: Awareness building and advocacy related materials on topics such as agriculture, health, environment, civic duties, disaster preparedness, etc.
- Teaching support materials: National curriculum, teaching manuals, teacher training materials, supplementary readings.
- Newspaper & magazines: Copies of various educational newspaper and magazines
Users of E-Pustakalaya can browse through these six major sections looking for items they like, or they can search for specific items based on full or partial author name, title, publisher and/or keywords. Users can also link to similar items based on author, publisher or keywords through a single click. Users can read books and documents, view videos, listen to audio clips, play educational games directly from E-Pustakalaya, and in the case of books and documents, download and store for later viewing.
OLE Nepal has sought and received permissions from authors, publishers and organizations to add the materials that are found in E-Pustakalaya. Contributing partners include NESCHIL (Nepalese Society for Childrens’ Literature), Room to Read Nepal, the British Council, Madan Puraskaar Pustakalaya, Rato Bangla Kitab, World Education, Save the Children, Practical Action, Azim Premji Foundation, E-Learning for Kids, and Gorkhapatra Sansthan. The use of the materials in E-Pustakalaya is governed by Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike copyright licenses.
E-Pustakalaya is accessible on the Internet at www.pustakalaya.org. It can also be installed in low power servers and deployed in schools and community libraries that either do not have Internet connectivity or have low bandwidth connection. Such local instances of E-Pustakalaya will enable better user experience through fast access and quick downloads.
A panel consisting of prominent Nepali writers advice in the development of E-Pustakalaya. Nepal Library Foundation, a Canada-based organization, has been supporting OLE Nepal with E-Pustakalaya development since 2009.
Key Characteristics of E-Pustakalaya:
- Offline server allow local access in places without Internet connectivity
- Allows multiple readers to access the same item simultaneously. It is a useful characteristic for teachers who want to assign the same reading to all their students
- Browse, Search & Link facilities
- Free access to over 5100 full text documents, books, educational videos, audio books, learning software, reference materials