In response to the growing demand of opening government runs libraries especially the South Division State Library in Sector 34 and the TS Central State Library, Sector 17, authorities submitted a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for facilitating the move to the UT administration on Tuesday.
The SOP lays emphasis on the need to adopt online procedures to register books for issuance, through an online catalogue of the library; not allowing anyone to enter the library premises; and keeping books in isolation for three days to ten days.
The city has a total of seven government libraries including two main libraries in Sector 17 and Sector 34, and five branch libraries in Mani Majra, Burail-45, Sector 47, Badheri village and Sector 27; all of which have been closed since the lockdown was imposed in March.
However, 50 per cent staff has gone back to attend the office since the unlock process was started, but visitors and the general public are not allowed to enter yet.
“Almost everything including clubs, hotels, restaurants, showrooms etc have opened then why not libraries? The administration can open these with proper guidelines. We are taking up this issue with the administration officials through different modes. There are certain private libraries including one in Sector 8, which are open now,” said Sudhir Singla, a regular member of TS Central State Library.
The library has around 55,000 members, from across the Tricity and neighboring districts.
“The administration should simply allow the issuance of books from libraries. Although it is not the perfect time to allow people to sit inside the reading room, books should be issued. As all the government offices were opened then why not the libraries,” said Rakesh Gupta, a member in Mani Majra branch of state library
Neeza Singh, a senior librarian at TS Central State Library, said, “Keeping in view the pandemic, we have submitted an SOP to the local administration. As per that, the reading room, reference room will not operational. People will book their desired books through online portal of the libraries. They will also give the exact time of when they will come to collect and return the books. And when they arrive, library staff members will pass them the books at the entry point.”
She further added, “There are two views about putting the books into isolation. We discussed it with doctors at PGI and they said that paper can be disinfected in three days and a book with a plastic cover, sticker usually takes 10 days to become disinfected. Almost all the books have plastic stickers, tags etc.”
The library authorities have also declared that no fine will be charged from members during the lockdown period.
“Scores of people come every day, enquiring about when the library will reopen,” said an attendant at the entry of the Sector 17 library.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines