Public Library System in the State
The Library development in Maharashtra is based on the recommendations of a Fyzee Committee, appointed by the then Government of Bombay province, for the development of libraries in the State. The Committee constituted in 1939 and submitted its report in 1940. The recommendations of the Committee could not be implemented up to 1947 because of the Second World War. After the independence, the then Government of Bombay province decided for development of public libraries to implement the recommendations of the Fyzee Committee.
The Fyzee Committee recommended that the Government should encourage local initiative by recognizing private libraries and give them financial aid on the conditions that the libraries allow free use of the books and reading material to the non-paying members in the locality within the premises of the library. The Committee also recommended the establishment of one State Central Library at Mumbai and one Regional Library at Pune. According to the recommendations of this committee, the functions of Central Library were entrusted to the Asiatic Society of Bombay in 1947. In 1950, the Trust Deed has executed between the then Bombay provincial Government and Asiatic Society of Bombay for this purpose. During this period the Regional Library was also established at Pune.
The committee further recommended that one District Library and one Taluka Library at each district and all places should be recognized. The formula of financial grants to these libraries was determined on the category of the public library and the limit which was based on admissible expenditure incurred by concerned libraries in the previous year. The work of inspection and supervision of these libraries was being done by Curator of Libraries, who was working under the control of the Directorate of Education. This situation continued up to 1967. The working and development of these public libraries recognized under the Fyzee Committee Report could not give sufficient service and attention on account of inadequate funds for their progress. This situation was considered by the library association, library activists, political leaders, in the field of libraries and they pressed Government for the introduction of library legislation in the State.
The Directorate of Libraries is comparatively a new Directorate concerned with the public library development in the State. In fact, public library development is a new subject. The public library is expected to perform various functions. In a democratic society, the public library is much more important than other institutions of formal education. Governments role in this respect is of supervisory and that of rendering financial aid. Public Library service is a new social service and has to be looked after carefully till it gets established and accepted by all. The Maharashtra Public Libraries Act envisages the development of library service with the help of non-official public libraries. To run the State Central Library and the Six Divisional Libraries and District libraries are the responsibility of the State Government. Director is making efforts to develop the services within the framed rules of the Act and the financial resources available.