Kolkata, apart from its rich heritage is also filled with people who love to read. There are some sprawling bookstores in the city and there is also a street that has books on both its sides — College Street. People in Kolkata like to read and make no bones about admitting the same. It now seems that they have found a new destination.
If one gets down at Netaji Bhavan metro station and walks towards Rammohan Dutta road straight to Northern park one would stumble upon a rather curious sight. College-goers can be seen crowding the area and a familiar smell of books envelops it. Several books are exhibited in bookshelves on the footpath and it almost seems like a bookstore at first glance. This, however, is no bookstore, instead, it is an expansive library that houses books by authors ranging from popular Bengali comic books to Sidney Sheldon. The name of the place is Street Library.
Although the name might be simple, the concept is not. Much like a library, readers can borrow books from here free of cost and even take it home. That these books can be stolen or never returned is not a cause of worry.
Just how readers are queueing up to read books, there have also been others who have happily donated books that were perhaps gathering dust at their home.
This, however, is not the only way people are contributing to the library. Teachers from the nearby school also voluntarily come and arrange the books that sometimes lie scattered.
Unlike other libraries, there is no membership fee in the Street Library. Readers are encouraged to read books of their choice as and when they want.
A wide range of books is available, right from novels to self-help books for competitive exams. It, indeed, is a reader’s delight.