Archive Review: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library at Teen Murti Bhavan

DHARITRI BHATTACHARJEE and AMBER ABBAS, Department of History, The University of Texas at Austin

Published on December 22, 2011

 The library is located on the left side of the Museum. To get access you will need a letter from your home institution and a letter from the US Embassy (make several copies of this as it is a generic letter and you may need it again). There is a Rs. 500 fee to use the collections at NMML for one year.

NMML has many collections including a pleasant and quiet research library, an oral history collection (transcripts are accessible and may be photocopied in parts), microform collection (historical newspapers and private papers) and a manuscripts collection.

In addition, you should be aware how the microfilm section works. The microfilm section has limited hours. Be sure to find out what they are! You must sign up to use a microform station, so turning up on Friday mornings is important, as you sign up for the following week. You may only sign up for three-hour slots. You will request the microfilm reels and then you can work at one of 5 microform stations. Be aware that the machines must be turned off for 15 minutes every hour! That means, you can start work on the hour, and will be required to turn off the machine in 45 minute (the time is not flexible, the supervisor makes everyone turn the machine off at the same time). Summers and the winter break are very busy. One can work much more if there is not too much competition for the sign-up slots.

There is a copy shop inside the library, you mark the sections in a book that you need copied, and the copies cost Rs. 1 per page. You will often have to wait if you are requesting a large number of copies. You can request copies of manuscripts and oral histories through the Manuscript section. For copies from microfilm you will have to make detailed notations and request copies in the Reprography Section. Be aware that no one in the Reprography Section reads Urdu and you may have to sit with the copyist to identify what you need. The Reprography Section also has very limited hours and is minimally staffed, so before you put in a big order you must discuss your deadlines and timeframe with them.

The library has an inexpensive restaurant next door and this is a good place to hang out and meet other researchers.

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