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Delhi Public Library goes hi-tech

Free Internet surfing, DVDs and audio CDs to borrow, online cataloguing and reservation—the DPL is going to offer its members books and much more, reports Sidhartha Roy.
By Sidhartha Roy | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 14, 2008 02:38 AM IST

Your friendly neighbourhood Delhi Public Library just got hip. Free high-speed Internet surfing, DVDs and audio CDs to borrow, online cataloguing and reservation—the 57-year-old DPL is going to offer its members books and much more. And the membership is free.

DPL has a membership of about 50,000 but it plans to reach out to more readers and is planning many initiatives as part of a modernisation process. To begin with, the DPL’s zonal library in Sarojini Nagar is going to provide free Internet access to its members from February 15.

Ten computers have been installed and each member would be allowed to surf Internet for one hour each day. DPL branches at Patel Nagar and SP Mukherjee would be next to provide the facility. Printer facilities would also be available.

Regular members are amazed by the change. “I cannot believe it is the same dank library filled mostly with dull books that I have been frequenting since my school days,” said Gautam Saha, a government employee who has renewed his membership after a gap of few years.

“DPL always had good books but it was very difficult to find and reserve them. Now, however, you can find a DBC Pierre or Khalid Hosseini lying on the shelves, apart from the classics,” he said.

Even if you are not really into books, it makes sense to become a member now because DPL plans to lend its members DVDs of Indian and international films, along with audio CDs. “We would have a collection of about 2,000 DVDs, which we plan to start lending from April,” said a senior DPL official at the Sarojini Nagar library.

“We want to provide our members all information resources under one roof. They can access books, periodicals, Internet and DVDs from one single point,” he said. DPL employees are being trained at present to help readers use the resources. DPL is also revamping the children's section.

DPL was started as a small library in Old Delhi in 1951, inaugurated by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The library has 58 branches at present all over the capital, apart from 26 mobile service points. DPL also has a Braille library for visually challenged members and a Prison library in Tihar Jail.

To become a member, you just have to fill up a form, provide an address proof and get the form attested by a gazetted officer, MP, MLA, advocate, doctor etc.

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