Father of the Library Movement in India, Shri. P. N. Panicker (Puthuvayil Narayana Panicker), died on 19 June 1995. In memory of the great revolutionary thinker, in 2017, PM Shri. Narendra Modi declared 19 June as National Reading Day
June is observed as National Reading Month in India. The objective of celebrating National Reading Day is to promote reading habit among the people. It has now become essential to emphasize the importance of reading in the digital age.
Government of Kerala in association with PN Panicker foundation, in 1996 declared June 19 as Reading Day to honor P.N Panicker. Panicker was born in Alapuzzha district of Kerala. He led the foundation of Thiruvithaamkoor Granthasala Sangham (Travancore Library Association) in 1945. The motto of the organization was “Read and Grow”.
Panicker was instrumental in promoting literacy among the rural areas in Kerala. He initated library movement in Kerala. Department of Education, Government of Kerala observed the week as Reader’s Week. Panicker was a Government lower primary school teacher in Alapuzha district of Kerala. He started Sanathana dharmam library in his home town in 1926. The library facilitated reading of newspapers which was difficult in those times. He also organized march throught Kerala to bring his dream of a library in every village.
One of the first libraries in India was founded in 1829 during the reign of King Swathi Thirunal of Travancore. The library was launched as a part of celebration of the golden jubliee of Queen Victoria. Lt. Col. Edward Cadogan led the operations of the library in its inital stages. It was later renamed as State Central Library, or Trivandrum Public Library.
In 1971, Government of Kerala took over Kerala Granthasala Sangham (KGS). Due to political and government interference, Panicker was forced to launch founding the Kerala Association for Non-formal Education and Development (KANFED) in 1977.
Due to age related health issues, on 19 June 1995, Panicker passed away.