On Librarians Day, bibliophiles nostalgic of State Central Library

Librarians Day
Tue, Aug 13, 2019

PANKAJ DHUNGEL
GANGTOK:
The State Central Library, home to some of the finest literature and non-fiction works in the State celebrated National Librarians Day at its expanded premises in Manan Kendra here on Monday. The day which is marked on the birth anniversary of librarian Dr. S.R. Ranganathan was a rare celebration in Sikkim, yet the State Culture department made attempts to make sure the event was marked in every State run district libraries.
Departing from the customary belief that State libraries are mere stores of published books in the digital era, librarians shared how the State Central Library has upgraded itself in every aspect with close to 54,000 volumes available. “Libraries are like growing organism with the additions of books on an everyday basis, along with increasing database of readers here in the State. We have tried conducting activities like storytelling and more such activities will follow. We have also initiated a reach out program wherein we distribute books to the needy and underprivileged including those staying in charity homes,” stated librarian Sangita Bomjan.
The State Central Library once had a devoted space in the former Community Hall premises, the same space was later dismantled to make room for the State Secretariat. Yet, the library didn’t lose its space. It was given a smaller space earlier, but with the Secretariat being shifted to Tashiling, the current library has increased to a 2-floor section with a devoted hall space for readers and racks of books, ready to be read.
“The previous structure was old and it was smaller in space as well as in content. There was lack of space for activities and the disturbance used to come from the community hall while being used for various cultural activities. Now, here the Manan Kendra has bigger place yet there is nostalgia that revolves around the former community hall library which people still miss and we still get feedbacks on how the library helped in shaping some of the brilliant minds of the State. They still come to us inquiring for some classics but most importantly, they play around the sentiments of having read their first Tin-Tin comics or Asterix comics,” shared senior librarian Karma Dichen Bhutia.
The OSD and librarian Bomjan highlighted how there is no devoted national policy to the State run libraries. She, however asserted that the library is not directionless, adding, “There are five laws of library science which was coined by SR Ranganathan which is still applicable in libraries worldwide. We are trying to spearhead the library movement which is also part of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through State Central Library. There is dying habit of reading and we are geared at inculcating the habit among young minds, promote interest in reading and making it a lifestyle".
On the big question of libraries dying in the digital era, a young librarian Ayushri Subba stated, “Being from a digital era and accustomed to kindle reading formats with PDFs at the helm, there are still so many rare books you will not be getting in the digital platforms. There are rare classics on the history and literature of Sikkim, Tibet and whole Nepali speaking diaspora which are probably not available on digital platforms. The young generation like ours need to visit the libraries to get more knowledge and as we are progressing we are inviting local authors to host reading sessions, seminars and workshops in State Central Library".


Area: 7096 Sq Km
Capital:Gangtok
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Climate:
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi