Can you guess what could be one of the greatest fears of a book lover? It is that very soon all the bookshelves will be wiped off clean and there will be a permanent end to the centuries old era of libraries. Today public libraries’ relevance has come into question when students need them the most. The amazing amount of useful information on the web has for some engendered the false assumption that everything can be found online. Its simply not true. Despite this perceived notion, libraries are still irreplaceable for many reasons.
There are some really interesting reading spaces in Delhi, which can be taken as a perfect example of maximizing the social and interactive nature of public library space. Group study, art exhibits, food and talks over coffee- this is the new era’s library. The American Centre Library in Connaught Place is one such place where you can have an enriching experience. It stocks books of all shapes, sizes and genres mainly written by American authors as well as DVDs of American movies. It offers interactive sessions on various political and social issues. Film festivals, book launches, movie screenings and cultural workshops are other humble efforts to attract students. Even the membership procedure is quite easy, with an annual membership fee of Rs.400 only.
The British Council Library is another Public library, a few minutes walk from there. One can easily borrow DVDs & CDs the library offers for entertainment and knowledge purposes. The membership fee is also affordable, however it varies as per the package one avails. The most popularly availed one is the Gold package which asks for Rs. 1600 annually and lends books, DVDs & CDs. It exhibits a wide range of books from sections like food, fiction, music and even children’s storybooks. The sitting arrangement is also very modern, chic and pleasant. One can just delve into the books for hours. It even conducts Interactive English Learning sessions to improve students’ language and speaking skills through discussions, presentations and other interactive means; seminars and discussions on study options in UK are also held there. These libraries subscribe and even stock a vast list of newspapers, academic journals and archives. It even provides freely accessible issues of major periodicals that would otherwise require online subscription.
Libraries can adapt to social and technological changes but they can’t be replaced. The society is not ready to abandon it yet, we shall forever need it for improvement and preservation of our culture.