Far flung branches of Delhi Public Library reek of neglect

While conditions at the Delhi Public Library (DPL) in Chandni Chowk visibly improved following a report of its sorry state in these columns earlier this month, the situation at far flung branches of DPL is still wanting.

Yojana Vihar Library of DPL, which comes under the east zone and is located inside a park, is a single room sandwiched between the Indian Postal Services office and a private residence. With just a single staff member to handle all the affairs, the books are strewn haphazardly and a large number of them are stacked on top of the racks instead of in the shelves.

DPL Shahdara, which is the east zone head office, too is located in a congested street of crowded Anaz Mandi, Shahdara. Situated in the interiors of a crowded market, accessibility to it is poor. The quiet of the library is continuously broken by the din of hawkers selling their wares outside.

Librarians at both locations were tight-lipped and this time round said they had no authority to reveal any details.

The Shahdara library had a huge pile of books stacked on a central table which is supposed to be used by readers, making it difficult for them to keep their books there. “These books used to be kept on the first floor earlier, but after that floor was vacated due to lack of space on the racks, they have been lying here for the past one year,” said Akash, a library member. Also, the separate Urdu section for which the library was known no longer exits. Urdu literature lies in the general section itself.

Conditions outside the library are even worse than inside. Open drains with flies hovering over them are not very welcoming. The librarian complained that many letters have been sent to the Municipal Corporation, but no long-term solution has been found.

Delhi Public Libraries that were visited in Narela, Lajpat Nagar, Patel Nagar and Andrews Ganj were no better. Their condition too reeked of neglect and cried for proper management and administration. In the Karol Bagh library, books had even been found in the sink.

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