By Sandeep Datta
New Delhi, April 6 : If you have avoided visiting the Delhi Public Library (DPL) at Old Delhi all these years having disappointed with the facilities in the past, it's time for a revisit. For, the library has undergone a makeover and can today charm anyone seeking a peaceful study environment.
The captivating interiors and a host of facilities being provided at the DPL's Central Library at the S.P.Mukherjee Marg, opposite to Old Delhi Railway station, can today cheer any reader.
Many facilities like free lending of Audio, Video Cassettes, Gramophone records and many others have always been an attraction here. But, the latest is the free access to Internet facility at the DPL that starts this Monday. It will be available to all members.
It will enable readers to gain access to any additional information at the click of mouse here apart from studying directly through the world of books at the library.
"We aim to popularize our library as well as promote reading habit among the citizens in Delhi. Thus, we have introduced the free high-speed Internet service with a high-speed connectivity, DVD corner and revamped Children's section as part of our latest features at the Central library at S.P.Mukherjee Marg. This free internet facility is already operational since February at our zonal branch in Sarojini Nagar," said Dr. Banwari Lal, the Director of Delhi Public Library.
"At least 10 Working Stations (computers) have been introduced for the time being. The number would be doubled, if required. Members can avail the internet facility between 12.30 a.m to 7.00 p.m. The timings are likely to be from 9.00 a.m to 7.00 p.m in near future,"Dr. Lal added. The new features could be possible after an advisory committee that was set up in 2007 under DPL's chairperson Shailja Chandra had recommended for a public internet access service, revamping of children's section, and setting up of a DVD corner, for library's modernization.
Delhi Public Library presently has a total membership of over 45,000 and it offers over 1.5 million books at the Central Library alone!
DPL's Central Library today attracts a huge number of readers for personal studies, especially during examination time for school, college or competitive exams.
The disturbance-free environment lifts the mood to study here for long hours far away from the city's noise pollution. The library is open from 8 o'clock in the morning to the same time in evening.
To motivate reading habits among people in far off colonies and rural areas, DPL provides library services at their doorsteps through mobile vans.
Not many may know Delhi Public Library provides books to Resident Welfare Societies/Associations, interested to open library in their colonies, under its Deposit Station scheme. It also imparts initial training to run the library service.
Moreover, the library provides its services to the inmates of Delhi's Central Tihar Jail where 647 registered members are getting library facilities.
For kids, the library has revamped its children section that offers a vast collection of comics, picture books, information books and storybooks. The library also organizes cultural activities and annual competition for children.
Delhi public library was originally conceived on western lines to be free to its users for circulation and reference services to all. It was the first UNESCO pilot project, sponsored by the UNESCO and the Government of India.
Apart from its Central Library near Old Delhi Railway station and a zonal library at Sarojini Nagar, Delhi Public Library includes 3 branch libraries, 26 sub-branch libraries, 6 community libraries, 21 Residential Colony libraries, 26 mobile service points, 29 Deposit stations, a Prison Library and a Braille library.
The library that was started as a small unitary library has now developed into the larges Public Library Network in Delhi and India. It offers books in four languages English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.
God knows if there can be more attractive choice than having access to a library that offers its membership for two years absolutely free of cost!