From just one library, Noida Public Library (NPL) in Sector 15, till some years back, Noida today has over 10 libraries. The reading culture is slowly being cultivated. Though most of these have been opened in community centres in sectors, there is one in Barola village too. Barola is the only village in entire Noida to have a library of its own! Significantly, each of these libraries has been opened by senior citizens , who are too perturbed by the increasing amount of time children spend in front of TV and computer.
The general residents too have contributed liberally towards the cause, in cash, kind (investing their time in manning the library) and even by donating books. That people have set up libraries without waiting for the Noida Authority or any other government agency or corporate house dolling out funds for them is remarkable in itself.
Each library has a large collection of books on various subjects like literature, science, social science, engineering, management, health and fitness etc. almost each one has a separate section for children that has books as well as comic books, including the ones on Indian mythology.
The Kendriya Vihar library has an added facility. Book-reading sessions are held here once a month. And once a month, this library is also turned into a conference hall, when an eminent personality is invited to speak on issues of social and national importance.
Each library also has board games facilities like carom and TT tables so as to attract children. "Books are important for children, in fact each human being," says B N Chopra, Sector 55 RWA office-bearer. "We have two libraries, one in community centre and another in temple in E block. The one in temple complex has religious and spiritual books, he adds. "These libraries serve as places where senior citizens can interact among themselves as also with the younger generation," says K N Pathak of Sector 51. "It is extremely important that children are exposed to a variety of books and that each child has access to good books. A good book can transform a personality," says Sanjay Sehgal, the man behind Shakuntala Devi Public Library in Barola.
As expected, children have benefitted at lot. "I just love coming here. My father works as a guard and cannot afford to buy these comics for me," says Rajni Kumari, a student of class V in Government Primary School, Barola. Rajni uses Shakuntala Devi Public Library. "I love books, and am very happy that we have this facility here," says Anushka Sachdeva of Sector 14. But residents want more. For there still are several residential sectors where there is no library. "I wish our RWA would also plan to open a library here," says Upasana Kaura of Sector 27.
On its part The NA has failed. While the promised Sports Library in Noida Stadium is yet to come up, a plot in H Block, Sector 41 earmarked for the library has been encroached upon by nearby villagers. Three years back, the then NA Chief Executive Officer Balvinder Kumar had promised that one library would be opened in each sector. But he got transferred and as usual the plan went into cold storage. "Perhaps facilities like these appear low on the priority list of the government," says noted social worker Mahesh Saxena, one of the founding members of Noida Public Library. "This library has over 200 users daily and in absence of a steady flow of funds it is increasingly becoming difficult to run this library," he says.
Number of libraries in Noida
Noida Public Library in Sector 15 - open to all. This is the first one in Noida.
Sector 21 community centre - for JVV residents
AVI Library in Sector 37 - for Arun Vihar residents
Sector 55 community centre - free and for sector residents
Sector 55 temple - open to all
Kendriya Vihar, Sector 51 - for sector residents
Shakuntala Devi Public Library, Barola - free and open to all
Sector 14 community centre - for sector residents, the first one opened by any RWA in Noida.
Sector 52 community centre - open to all
Sector 39 community centre - open to all
Book World Library, Centrestage Mall, sector 18 - open to all