Functioning out of a small room in Tamer Lane, off College Street, in Kolkata, the Little Magazine Library opened to the public in 1978 with Sandip Dutta’s personal collection of magazines. Mr Dutta had begun collecting little magazines in the 19703, but the impulse for the library was his indignation at the mass disposal of Bengali little magazines by the National Library in Kolkata. He took it upon himself to buy them up, and even expressed his sense of outrage at what he saw as official apathy to nonmainstream writing and publication by organising a ‘protest exhibition’. This brought him many supporters and gave a fresh lease of life to the parallel magazine movement.
His collection grew from a mere 750 magazines in 1978 to 46,000 in 2006. The library has, over time, become a hub for interested readers. Located in a part of the city frequented by students (several colleges and the University of Kolkata are located in the area) and booklovers, it soon began to draw scholars, researchers and the interested public working in or enthusiastic about the Bengali language context. Mr Dutta decided to turn a personal collection into a legal and institutional entity, and Kalikata Little Magazine Library 0 Gobeshana Kendra was set up as a Society in 1995 with the mandate of generating public awareness about the culture of little magazines in Bengal.
The Society was set up with the primary objectives of establishing a centre for study and research into Bengali little magazines; conducting seminars and discussion forums in educational institutions on the culture of little magazines; publishing essays, and book-length studies focusing on various aspects of the little magazine culture; networking with and supporting other little magazine libraries across West Bengal; and helping researchers with reference materials for their work.
The library possesses many rare editions of magazines that have gone out of publication. For instance, it has the inaugural edition of Bangadarshan, published in 1872 and edited by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay—the only surviving copy in the public domain. Likewise, Mr Dutta has all the editions of Sama Samayik, a little magazine that Nirad C. Chaudhuri edited in the 19505. Earning a livelihood as a school teacher, Mr Dutta has been running the library on his own steam. His earnest pleas to the state government and other agencies to donate space and/or support the library with equipment have been ignored.
This grant will be crucial in helping the library overcome the official apathy towards the little magazine movement. It supports the digitisation of 46,000 little magazines and the setting up of an Internet archive, thereby increasing accessibility and expanding the available resources for researchers. A team from the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta (CSSSC) will be responsible for the digitisation and the preparation of the Internet archive, and a digital copy of the archive will be housed in CSSSC. The library’s outreach has thus far been restricted because all magazines had to be accessed physically in Kolkata. It is hoped that the digitisation and the open-access archive will draw scholars from India and abroad to the astonishing collection and trigger research in the area. The grant will also help the library raise its public profile and connect to other institutions working with technology to make cultural resources available in the public domain.
This description is part of the institutional records created by IFA at the onset of the grant. The project may have changed in due course as reflected in the deliverables from the Grantee.
Grant No : 2006-1-026
Grantee Name : Kalikata Little Magazine Library 0 Gobeshana Kendra
Programme : Arts Research & Documentation
Grant Status : Completed
Start Date : 31-03-2007
End Date : 31-03-2009
Duration : Two years
Grant Amount : 5,00,000
Geographical Area of Work :
Disciplinary Field of Work :
Language : Bengali (Bangla)