The Festival of Libraries is an initiative powered and inaugurated by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The festival was inaugurated as an endeavour to realise the Prime Minister’s goal to develop libraries across the country and to foster the reading culture in the country.
The Northeast India AV Archive was one of the multiple institutions to participate in the festival. A number of institutions presented a project story, and also participated in the various panel discussions set up on the occasion to explore the various topics related to cultural heritage and traditions, and the role that libraries, archives and other memory institutions play in advancing them. Curating for Culture, a collective of highly driven individuals who share a common passion for culture and cultural studies, curated a section in the festival- photo presentations of archival stories, created by the archives that were part of the festival. They were precious stories extracted from the personal, institutional and community archives of India. The Northeast India AV Archive, which is part of the conglomerate of the country’s community archives, displayed a photo presentation recounting the stories that the photograph collection contributed by Kong Pearlymon Lyngdoh Lyngiong Ryntathiang and Herman Manik Lyngdoh encompass.
Curating for Culture also organised and regulated the panel discussion in which The Northeast India AV Archive participated, and which discussed archiving and oral history; the session explored how individual and corporate organisations build archives, both of their companies and of written and oral histories. Nathaniel Majaw, Project Director, The Northeast India AV Archive spoke at length about archiving, and the works of The Northeast India AV Archive since its inception, the challenges that come with archiving, and the Photo Exhibition organised at Siju, Baghmara, Garo Hills in the Spring of 2021, as part of the wider project called ‘Road to 50’ which celebrated the efforts that lead to the attainment of Meghalaya’s statehood. Anecdotes from the exhibition which demonstrated the reciprocal interactions between the public and organisers of such exhibitions were shared. The anecdotes meant to emphasise the symbiotic efforts in and benefits that such platforms and projects allow, which advance the concept of public archives, and reiterate their importance and contribution to society and the preservation of cultural heritage.
The festival provided a wide platform for the exchange of ideas and knowledge among like-minded individuals and organisations which share a common vision to nurture, rejuvenate and preserve cultural heritage, and the reading culture across the country.