Jasna K, working at the Indira Gandhi Memorial (IGM) Library presented a paper titled Silence as a norm and practice: A tale from the Library at the Summer School “Tacet Ad Libitum – towards a Poetic and Politics of Silence” organized by the Graduate School Practices of Literature of the University of Munster, Germany on July 27, 2022.

Jasna Kuriyangara

This paper is mainly focusing on how the multiplicities of silence exist in the library. The library as an institution, practices silence as a norm.  Here silence acts as an ethical condition, where the beneficiaries are the end-users, that is, mainly students, expecting a constructive space. Simultaneously silence intersects with organisational role in the sphere of library. As an institution established to share knowledge, the library has to choose what to share and what to withhold, according to socio-political conditions. The institutional limitations, such as the limited availability of the staff and technology may result in inefficiency in providing proper information to the end users. In this context, silence connotes a negative, destructive aspect where the employees are restrained from disclosing the situation by a commitment to institutional integrity. The working paper of Ms. Jasna was an attempt to theorise how silence is perceived by two different sections (employees and students), which are related to the library. This spirality of silence provides an opportunity to perceive silence as a means and end, encapsulated with the potential to discipline.

With changes in the political arena, the higher educational institutions are undergoing radical changes where libraries are also an essential target of power. This study is located in a particular library of one of the institutions of Eminence in India, the University of Hyderabad.