ALMOST THREE decades after it was set up, the District Library of Panchkula has been relocated from one government building to another. With its recent location in the building of Government College of Girls, Sector 14, its most ardent and oldest visitors, the senior citizens, are not delighted.
Initially set up as a Sub-Divisional Library in the Community Centre of Sector 7 in 1986, the library was upgraded to a District Library in 2007. It was moved to Mini-Secretariat, Sector 1, for some time, then moved to Shishu Greha, Sector 15, before being finally given space at Government College of Girls, Sector 14.
“Earlier, when the library was in Shishu Greha, Sector 15, many of us would regularly visit the library and sit there for hours, reading books and chatting with others retired friends like us. However, after it was shifted to the college, many of us are now hesitant to sit there among young students. We visit the library, get books issued and read them back home,” says D D Mehta, 69, a resident of Sector 16, who prefers to read books by Prem Chand and Sarat Chandra Chatterjee.
Mehta is among several senior citizens and retired people who are lifetime members of the library and have been visiting it for over a decade.
While there are all genres of books available in the library, visitors mostly read Hindi fiction with patriotic themes, poems and Urdu literature.
“We have 880 members at present, which include senior citizens and retired persons. They visit after every 10 days, issue a book and read it at home. They usually come in the afternoons,” says Savita Ahuja, chief librarian, who is also a college lecturer.
These days it is the young girl students or women who are found sitting in the library for hours. Most of them either come here for preparation of their entrance examinations or college examinations. Few school students also visit the library.
“I can focus on my studies better here, as the library provides the perfect ambience. There is no distraction. Four hours of study in the library is equal to seven hours of self-study at home,” says Keerti Kamboj, 23, a student of MSc at DAV College, Sector 10. Another woman resident, Nirmala Devi, 28, visits the library for preparation of civil services examinations.
Most of the visitors demand that the District Library should be given an independent building to facilitate visits by people from all age groups.
“I have been visiting the library since 2000, but I’m now hesitant to go and read books among several girl students and children who come there for their studies. Bachchon ke beech mein baith kar, thoda ajeeb lagta hai (It feels odd sitting among children). There is not much space. We request the administration to provide independent space to the library, so that many people like us can come and read books without any hesitation. It is a District Library, not a college library,” says Rajender Kumar Jain, 74, a retired defence personnel.
The Haryana Urban Development Authority has earmarked 1.3-acre land in Sector 5, opposite the Sector 5 Police Station, for the construction of the District Library building. However, the site has not yet been allotted to anyone.