One such instance of a private library without any takers for its books can be observed in New Delhi’s Sultanpuri where Nand Kishore, owner of ‘Talk a lot Library,’ says he suffered huge losses in the last six months owing to Covid-19 even to the extent of being unable to repay the loan for his private library. “Our source of employment was taken away due to which I was upset. Our library rent is not waived off and the library is still closed,” he added.
The private libraries in Delhi wear an empty look during the corona pandemic due to lack of students visiting them. In Unlock 4.0, the children have now started coming slowly but the lively atmosphere that used to be there with the presence of children inside the library is now a bleak shadow of the past.
However, hundreds of private libraries have been opened at places like Mukherjee Nagar, Laxmi Nagar, Karol Bagh, Gandhi Vihar, Old Rajinder Nagar and South Delhi in the national capital.
Students avail of the facility to study in these libraries by paying a fee. They also prepare for their upcoming exams. However, ever since the spread of the coronavirus infection, there has been a lull in these libraries.
Nand Kishore told IANS, “Only those students who are going to appear for their upcoming exams are visiting the libraries and we are charging them 50 per cent fee.”
According to Kishore’s estimate, “Delhi may have nearly 2,500 private libraries. Through these libraries, students get a place to study and we get employment. Nothing can be done unless the government gives permission.”
Apart from these libraries, there were nearly 150 libraries in Delhi considered to be premier, including some in the government sector.
Mahesh Kumar Arora, assistant information officer, Delhi Public Library which comes under under the Ministry of Culture, told IANS, “Our library is government-owned and all government guidelines were duly followed. We have started ‘limited services’ in the library from June 1.”
Arora said, “Children are not allowed to come inside the library nor are they able to sit and study so we have made books available for them online. We have also waived the children’s fines in the past. However, right now some children are visiting the library who leave the premises with books.”
There are nearly 150 libraries in Delhi which can actually be called libraries. Otherwise so-called libraries are opened in homes where money is charged from children in exchange for service, Arora added.
Veer Pradeep Chaudhary, owner of ‘Veer Library’, Laxmi Nagar, told IANS, “Children get an atmosphere of learning in the library. Students come here and prepare for government jobs and other examinations. At present, my library is visited by a few children who are going to appear for exams soon.”
He said, “We make children sit away from each other in our library because right now students were less so they themselves sit away from each other and study. After Unlock 3 we started the library while the children were called in shifts so that we could sanitize the library.”
“We did not get any support from the government. Students future is in jeopardy right now,” Chaudhary added.