Jalandhar: In Guru Nanak Dev district library, one of the oldest libraries of Punjab, books written by eminent writer Kartar Singh Duggal are lying covered under heaps of dust. Built in 1957, the district library is suffering from the government’s apathy since decades and is in a state of complete neglect. Staff crunch, lack of funds, lack of newly published books are the reasons which have led to the present situation of the library.
Racks containing books which are covered by layers of dust and books placed over the shelves in an unplanned manner is a common sight and the authorities are waiting for funds to grapple with the situation. Even the staff is insufficient. Class 1V is absent and there is not even a single library restorer. The posts have been lying vacant since decades and no new recruitment has been made so far.
Once the Jalandhar district library was considered to be the best library in the Punjab and had also won a cash prize of 50,000 from Raja Ram Mohan Roy library foundation, Kolkata for being the best library, but today it stands nowhere.
Moreover, no new books of Punjabi literature have come up in the library since last many years. The library receives a grant of 13,000 for books every year.
“It is not possible to buy new books in the absence of required grant. We receive books from Raja Ram Mohan Roy library, Kolkata and they provide us books in English and Hindi, so we are short of Punjabi literature, said Surinder Kaur, Librarian.
Books in the children section are also 20-25 years old and no new book has ever come.
The library has not received maintenance grant for around last 25 years. Since then, no repair has been done. The dilapidated building has become a scar.
A continuous stream of water dribbles down the roof during monsoon, said a library attendant. There are cracks in the buildings, it has not been renovated in the absence of funds, he added.
An auditorium was also got built inside by Kartar Singh Duggal in 2002 just to remain in a deplorable condition. However, educational meetings held here, but the condition is very bad.
“I have been coming here since last 20 years, nothing else can match the environment that a library provides when it comes to reading purpose. I love reading books and it is true that the library is in loathsome condition. Racks here contain termite infested books, it becomes so difficult to even touch them at times, said a regular reader.
A student from Innocent hearts school said, I come here to study as the library gives a sound atmosphere, but it doesn’t have the books which I want to read. They do not have Ruskin bond’s books which are loved by almost every youngster.