One of the oldest public libraries of Delhi, located in the historical walled city area, now has newly-renovated air-conditioned reading rooms to offer a conducive environment for students.

The Hardayal Municipal Library at Chandni Chowk has got modern facilities, including computers, on ground floor and first floor of the building courtesy the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).

“The ICAI had offered to develop the new facilities to create a conducive environment for students who are pursuing their chartered accountancy course. However, the renovated reading rooms will prove to be a boon for all visitors to this old library,” Yashpal Arya, municipal councillor and honorary secretary of the Hardayal Municipal Library, says.

The library is funded by the MCD but run by an independent management committee.

Mayor of Delhi Prithvi Raj Sawhney, who recently dedicated the renovated and computerised fully air-conditioned reading rooms, said these will remain open for students from 10 am to 11 pm.

“New library furniture and toilets have also been provided by ICAI,” Mr. Arya said. ICAI is the second largest accounting body in the world.

The library was set up in 1862 as the Lawrence Institute Library. In 1912, the Viceroy of India Lord Hardinge escaped a bomb attack while passing by Chandni Chowk on an elephant. The library was shifted to a larger building by the British to commemorate Hardinge’s survival and was renamed after him.

After independence it was named as the Hardayal Library after freedom fighter Lala Hardayal who had led the bomb attack on Hardinge. The library has some 1,70,000 books in Hindi, English, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit and Prakrit.

The oldest book in the library is ‘Relation of Some Years’ by Travaile Begvenne, written in 1634. It also has handwritten manuscripts of the Mahabharat and Ramayan translated in Persian and Arabic.

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