P N Panicker (Puthuvayil Narayana Panicker) is known as the Father of the Library Movement in Kerala. He died on 19 June 1995, at the age of 86. The Government of Kerala observes 19 June annually as Vayanadinam (Day of Reading) with a week-long series of activities at schools and public institutions to honour the contributions of P.N. Panicker to the cause of literacy, education and library movement.
The activities of the Kerala Grandhasala Sanghom which was initiated by P. N. Panicker ignited a popular cultural movement in Kerala at the end of which the state acquired total literacy in the 1990s. Panicker took leadership in forming Thiruvithaamkoor Granthasala Sangham (Travancore Library Association) in 1945 with 47 rural libraries.
The slogan of the Sangham was “Read and Grow”. Later, with the formation of Kerala State in 1956, it became Kerala Granthasala Sangham (KGS). He traveled across the villages of Kerala propagating the message of reading and inviting active involvement of people. He succeeded in bringing about 6000 libraries into this network. Grandhasala Sangham won the prestigious ‘Krupsakaya Award’ from UNESCO in 1975. He was the General Secretary of Sangham for 32 years, until 1977, when the Sanghom was taken over by the Kerala State Government. Now it is called the Kerala State Library Council, with an in-built democratic structure and funding from the State Government.
In 1977 he founded the Kerala Association for Non-formal Education and Development (KANFED). KANFED was highly instrumental in starting the Kerala State Literacy Mission which leads Kerala for its total literacy movement and Kerala became the first State which won total literacy.
The Department of Posts honoured Panicker by issuing a commemorative postage stamp on 21 June 2004.