Digital generation it is. And mobile devices like tablets, kindles, and iPads are getting popular, but students still prefer reading academic texts in print. At the libraries in Sectors 17 and 34, one can find any number of students poring over books.
Librarians say there has been no decline in the footfall despite the growing popularity of digital devices. At the Sector 34 State Library, 20 to 25 people become members every day and 750 to 800 books are issued and returned daily. The visitor’s signature book has 300 entries every day.
At the TS Central library in Sector 17, which is the oldest library in the city, about 500 students visit every day. The library has 44,000 members already, and about 10 new members join daily.
Library in-charge S P Nagpal said, “Over the years, the readership in the library has increased. Firstly, because more students have started taking competitive exams. Secondly, students find a calm environment here to study for long hours with no distraction at all. Lastly, with the wide variety of books available here, the students find here books which are not available at the market.”
He said while the footfall had increased, the readership of certain categories of books had declined. “Earlier, we used to have varied readers like students coming to read comics and magazines, women for their Mills and Boons novels, professionals for their journals, and senior citizens who used to read religious books and poetry. But now the readership seems to be largely confined to academics.”
Convener of the state library Anupama Gupta said that a large number of students pursuing higher education or preparing for their entrance exams were the regulars. “The students do not find space in the rooms and have to sit on the stairs and in the halls,” she added.
Interestingly, the libraries are fully digitised and have wi-fi facility but students still prefer reading books in the physical form.
Vandana Sharma, who is preparing for her competitive exams, said, “When I have to read a novel, I use my iPad but for the academics, the embedded links distract me. On an iPad, I cannot highlight the important text or write notes in the margins. The plus point of studying in a library is that I have all the required books in front of me.”
Another student said that probably the next generation would be more comfortable using digital textbooks as they were being educated more through digital learning and online exercises. The Sector 34 library has several coaching institutes, including Helix, Allen and Aakash, nearby. Often students from these coaching centres come here for their preparations.