Improved conditions prevail at the Delhi Public Library whose abysmal state was reported in these columns

All it takes to spruce up a place is a few days it would seem if one visited the Delhi Public Library in Chandni Chowk. After The Hindu reported on the abysmal conditions of the library last week in the article 'As pages gather dust', the Ministry of Culture seems to have taken note and taken active steps to rectify the situation. As this reporter found on a follow up visit to the library, all the books are arranged in proper order assisting the readers in locating the books of their choice easily.

A library staffer was seen dusting the place with great effort. Dirt from the old books has been removed. Moreover, nearly all the tube lights and fans have started working properly. The gloomy look in some sections has disappeared. Even the thick layer of dirt on back walls and floor is nowhere to be seen. The result is that no one feels suffocated by dust that used to collect there earlier.

The cobwebs which used to sheath the old collections of Gazette of India have been removed. The reference section of the library is now air-conditioned, thereby making life easier for the readers in these hot and humid conditions. The presence of an air-conditioner has attracted more than usual number of readers to the reference section reading room where every seat was occupied in stark contrast to just a few weeks ago.

The record room that stocks the newspaper archives of Hindustan Times and Navbharat Times from the 1970s has acquired a new look. Earlier, one had to carry the huge archive book to the reference section from the record room to go through the records as nobody risked letting the dust enter their nostrils but now as the dusting of the room has been done diligently, one can search the archives in the record room itself.

Presence of staff members on the stairs leading to the upper section of the library has been increased making it inaccessible for anyone to see whether the conditions there have been improved or not. This section which boasts of archives right from 1951 to 1970s was in a sorry state earlier as the books were soaked in dust.

The administrative section and the reading room have been cleaned, greatly reducing the presence of flies.

The boundary walls of the library that were being used as public toilets were found to be clean on Monday with the litter removed. But on Tuesday the situation outside the library was back to square one and as dirty as ever.


As pages gather dustJuly 6, 2013

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