The reference and research library of Punjabi Sahitya Akademi (PSA) at Ferozpur Road stands out from an ordinary library and is a house to over 45,000 books which exhibits varied ethos of Punjabi language and culture, thanks to its management and members who are guided by 84-year-old librarian Prem Singh Bajaj.
Bajaj retired as a principal in 1993 and since then he has been serving the library with sheer dedication. The library has a collection of about 45,000 books on various subjects, including 2,900 thesis on Punjabi language, literature, history and culture.
Besides, one can find encyclopaedias, holy books in different languages and even 200-year-old hand written books by erudite writers and poets from across the world.
Though most of the books are in Punjabi, you will also find various collections of books in Hindi, English and Urdu which is the reason that the library is a prime destination for literature lovers, IAS and PCS aspirants.
The library officials said that over 400 hand-written books of different sizes have been carefully kept and were digitalised during the tenure of former PSA president Gurbhajan Singh Gill.
Bajaj, known for his managing skills, dedication and enthusiasm, said, “Book lovers from different pockets of the globe keep donating the latest and rare books to the library.”
He added that language department of Punjab, Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh, Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar, and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) also played an active role to revive the library.
“I attained membership of PSA around 40 years ago and had passion for books since childhood. After getting retired, rather than sitting at home, I decided to indulge myself with a world of books,” he added.
It is worth mentioning that Bajaj also played an important role in raising the number of books from 9,000 to about 45,000.
Talking about issues being faced by the library, he said, “There is an urgent need to revive the infrastructure of the library as due to the lack of space, various books are just placed on the floor.”
The library, which opens at 9:30 till 04:30pm except Sunday, is free for the general public and badly needs better housekeeping services.
Bajaj also said due to huge collection of books, there was an urgent requirement of a computer savvy employee who could keep a record of books on a computer.
Concluding his comments, Bajaj confidently said, “Now with the appointment of newly elected president, Sukhdev Singh Sirsa, we are expecting that some serious steps would be taken to revive the infrastructure.”