Written by Maheep Dhanoa
The new public park libraries in Mohali may be low on their collection of books or other facilities, but they are high on public participation. Open from 9 am to 5 pm, these libraries see a steady stream of visitors, young and old. While the elders come to browse through the newspapers, the youngsters use these to sit and study.
Rose Garden in Phase 3B-1, which inaugurated its library in the beginning of June, manages to attract 30-odd people every day though it is short of books. Gurpreet Kaur, the librarian, says, “Some books have been donated to us and the government will be providing us more soon as the tender has already been issued, I am sure the library will pick up.”
Furnished with empty shelves, desks and newspapers, the library already has started getting visitors every day. “There is some disturbance from outside, but overall the library is helpful for people who want to study,” says Sarabjit Singh, who has come to the library for the first time.
At Phase 4 park library, Councillor Kuldep Kang says, “Our library has all the important facilities. We asked someone to donate a water cooler, most of the books have also been donated by residents whereas a few have been given by the Phase 1 district library.’’ The government, he grouses, hasn’t provided any facilities or books.
The park library in Phase 6 is also low on facilities. With no AC or books or water cooler, the number of people using it is quite small. Rajneesh Bala, the librarian, says, “The library was inaugurated last month and we are awaiting books and facilities for which the tender has been issued.”
But the library at Mohali’s Silvi Park is nearly packed with people sitting in hushed silence, the only sound being that of a worker’s ringtone and a loud fan. One of the oldest park libraries of Mohali, this was inaugurated in 2004 and is fitted with ACs, tables, chairs, and a water cooler. The two- storeyed building has a vast collection of books from a number of genres along with a plethora of Hindi, English, Punjabi and Urdu newspapers. Books on religion, fiction, health, education, etc. are perched atop shelves that line the walls of the ground floor. “Some of the cupboards are locked but people can read those books once they’ve informed the librarian. They are locked because in the past, one or two books were stolen,” says a worker at the library.
As per the entries in the register, approximately 15-35 people, frequent the library every day. Senior citizens and students make up the primary population in these libraries. Kanvi Kaushik, a regular at the library, currently preparing for CAT, feels this is a good initiative by the government and allows her to study in peace, although the infrastructure could be improved to accommodate more people. She adds, “Sometimes, when people come to donate books, the staff refuses them because a number of books there don’t even get utilized.”
Vibhuti Thakur, another student who is currently preparing for SSC and other exams, says, “The library provides a good environment to study although adding more ACs would help.”
The library at Mohali’s Bougainvillea Park comes with cheery posters and shelves full of books. It’s quite packed for most of the day. Anamika Sharma, a regular visitor at the library, says, “It is really helpful for the students.”