Serampore College Library

Serampore College Library

Short History

The Serampore Mission, established by the early Baptist Missionaries, William Carey, Josua Marshman, William Ward and others in January 1800, played a leading role in initiating the modern phase of Indian Library Movement. To sustain and implement high ideals of best possible education in both Eastern and Western learning, a Library was established by the Missioneries immediately in the same month of January, 1800, which became the nucleus of their educational activities. Rev. John Fountain was appointed the first Librarian of the Mission’s Library. The primary object of the Library was to help Carey in his translation work and learning of Oriental languages. But Carey’s interest was in all branches of knowledge, so the Library began to collect books on various subjects.

Reorganization of the Mission’s Library as SERAMPORE COLLEGE LIBRARY was undertaken in 1818 at the time of foundation of Serampore College. In the prospectus of the college circulated on the 15th July 1818, the Missioneries outlined the plan to make it a “Treasure House of Knowledge which declared that

” the Vedas, Puranas, Darsanas, and all other Sanskrit works on Arts and Science, all the works obtainable in the various popular dialects of India, the most approved Persian and Arabian authors, the Chinese classics and approved authors in that languages, such works in Cinghalese, Tibatese, Pali, Burman, and other Indian dialects, every Hibrew and Syriac works procurable in the East, the best authors of Greek and Latin, the best works in French, Italian and Portuguage, are to be obtained for the Library.”

After the foundation of the college it was planned to erect a building, wherein enough space was allotted to accommodate the Library in the ground floor. In 1822 the building was completed, the Library was placed there and it is still in the same place, except the rare collection, which is now kept in a separate air conditioned room in the new building of the Carey Library erected with the assistance of NORAD and DENIDA in 1994.

The Library gradually developed with the policy of keeping abreast of the best contemporary thoughts in every field of learning. By appealing to the friends at home and abroad, the Library was able to collect a good number of valuable works in 40 Oriental and European languages. Many Sanskrit and Bengali manuscripts were also collected. During the middle part of the 19th century it became one of the greatest and famous Libraries in India.

The Library was reorganized in 1871 and then in 1910. But unfortunately, during 2nd World War, the College building was requisitioned by the Government for Military Hospital and with a short notice the Library had to be shifted elsewhere. During transition some valuable works were damaged and lost. The programmes for development of the Library had a setback due to financial and other constraints.

The major reconstruction of the Library started in 1961 and was completed in 1966 with the assistance of famous bibliographer Katherine Smith Diehl and Librarian Ms FHB Williams. All the reading materials were reclassified and catalogued .The first incunabula printed in India “Early Indian imprints”, was published from Serampore College under the editorship of Ms Diehl. For the convenience of administration, the Library was divided into three parts: 1) Arts-Science-Commerce section, 2) Theology section, and 3) Carey Library for old and rare books and other materials. A Museum with articles of remembrance was also set up in the name of the founder CAREY MUSEUM under the control of Carey Library.

Coming to the new Millennium, the Library completed its course of 200 years journey on the 10th January 2000, since the Mission Library, established on that date, was transformed into the College Library with all its holdings. The college celebrated the historical event with proper gorgeousness and sanctity. The State Minister of Library Mr. Nimai Mal was the chief guest and inaugurated the exhibition organized during the function.

The present scenario

The Library ASC is now divided in to two sections Central Library and Seminar Library.

Seminar Library

Each Honours department has developed its Seminar Library taking a part of the collection of the central library, which is looked after by the teachers of the concerned department.

The Central Library

Reading Room

The Library housed in the ground floor of the main building a 200 years old massive building of Ionic student. The Students of Arts-Science-Commerce use the Central Library (ASC) which is provided with a spacious Free Access Reading Hall.  It has a seating arrangement for 100 students. RFID chip  has been installed in each book with the gate and the reading room is under the CCTV surveillance. The Reading Room collection consists of books on all subjects according to undergraduate syllabus, as well as reference books like encyclopedia, dictionary, collected works of famous writers and the like. The library has a good collection of current books and journals. It has a collection of old books, magazines, journals and valuable old maps as well. The efficient staff members help the students to provide effective service to the user. There are four sections in the Reading Hall.

Reference Collection

The reference collection consists of Encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, reports, Annual reviews, Art Books etc.

OPAC terminal to access Library database.

There are 9 terminals for searching the database (KOHA) with the mobile app. facility. There also have the card catalogue searching facility for the user.

Internet access terminal for e- journal and e-books.

There are 9 cubicles in the library, each equipped with centralized LAN.  The cubicles are specially meant for students those who want to search the e-journals, e-books and also for OPAC.

Display section of periodicals, Journals, Newspapers and magazines.

The library provides current-awareness service to the readers through new arrivals display, newspapers, newsletters, journals, magazine etc. These newly added resources are also displayed for the convenience of students and faculty members, so that they could be aware of latest state-of the-art of the library.


The users of the Library are undergraduate students and staff members of the college. Besides, Day Scholars and Ex-students, staff members and Students of faculty of theology are entertained to use the library with special permission from the Principal.

Stack Area:

RFID technology has been implemented in the library and now user can directly access the books form the stack area to borrow it.

Book Bank Facility

The book bank facility is available for the students belonging to non-creamy layer of the society for one year.

Lending Counter

Text Books are lent out to students for a fortnight. The Library is fully computerized. At the beginning of the session, RFID based college Identity Cards are issued to the students which is use for the both purpose as a college ID and also as a library card. Books are issued on production of the Cards. Without the clearance certificate of the Library no student is allowed to appear in the final examination or leave the college. The students are responsible for the loss or misuse of their card and in such cases are liable to pay the requisite fines.

Digital archives:

The library holds a golden treasury of very old and rare documents. This documentary heritage is continuously decaying with time towards extinction, which is our national cultural loss. A project on digital archive of rare documents was undertaken by the college to prevent this loss. The digital archives software DSpace is used in this project. The all archival documents are available in the institution LAN.

A library committee, with student members, is also there for improvement of library and its service. A Complaint Box is installed to be used by the students for redressal. The students are expected to strictly follow the Library rules mentioned on library booklet.

Working hours:
10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday
10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Library remains fully open during summer.

i) Librarian Dr. Mohitosh Das.
ii) Library Assistant  Mr. Avijit Sengupta
iii) Library Attendant  Mr. Tamal Roy,  Mr.Subhasis Biswas

a) Circulation:
i) Home Issue of books are issued for a fortnight to the students and for teachers for three  months.

b) Current awareness service: Notification of current information regarding Library and any pamphlets received by the Library done. Paper-cuttings, important posters and advertisement of Job, training programme etc.are displayed on Display-board. New arrivals list is available on the counter and also on website.
c) Library subscribes on-line and print journals which are open for the use of all.
d) Users can access e-books through the library OPAC and also from NLIST portal . The Library has become a member of American Center Library to available the borrowed facility of books and journals.

i) Photocopy
ii) Web OPAC Search

iii) RFID based circulation system
iii) Card Catalogue Search : Two indexes are available, 1) Author Index ,2) Classified index
iv) Internet Kiosk
v) Provision for the Handicapped ones
a) The Library has developed a small collection of Braille books for the visually impaired.
b) There is also a provision of wheel chair and special seating arrangement for the Physically   handicapped ones.