There are more than 12 libraries in the district that include Government District Library, Bathinda; Satya Paul Azad memorial public library, Bathinda; Public Library, Rampura Phul; Shaheed Bhagat Singh Library, Jeeda village; Maghi Singh Gill Memorial Library, Baliya Wali village, Lala Hardyal Library at Teachers Home, Lala Sant Ram memorial library, Shaheed Jarnail Singh memorial library and others.
The Government District Library was established in 1974 at Qila Mubariq and then shifted to the old tehsil complex and now it is situated at the Zila Parishad complex at Bathinda. In the beginning, it was allotted a post of librarian, a restorer and a peon. At present, the library has been facing lack of staff and readers for the past five years as the restorer got retired on June 30, 2010. This library is working under the department of higher education, Punjab.
In July 2000, the librarian was transferred to Government Rajindra College, Bathinda, and no librarian has joined after that. No book has been issued to any reader after the retirement of the restorer in June 2010.
The library has a treasure of 35,000 rare and presently ‘out of print books’ but lying only in the racks failing to serve any purpose. The library has more than 1,200 books of Urdu language as well. At present, there are only two Class-4 employees, but they are not competent to issue any book or magazine. No book has been purchased by the library since 2000.
Only seven newspapers are available in the library. No budget is being received for meet the office expenses. This library still has 750 card holder members, but no one prefers to visit the library.
Many old readers of this library got shifted to the Public Library, which was established in 1938 by freedom fighter Satya Paul Azad and his friends and is now being run by a private organisation. This library has more than 52,000 books of English, Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu language and most of them still continue to be issued to members.
The library has as many as 3,000 member card holders members. Everyday, approximately 50 books are issued to readers to be taken to home. Daily more than 250 readers come to the reading hall of the library.
Rampura Phul library
The Public Library at Rampura Phul has also a great history as it was established in 1939. This library houses as many as 21,000 books of English, Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu language.
The library was established with the involvement of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and many great leaders of the freedom struggle such as Saifudin Kichloo, Gopi Chand Bhargav and Bheem Sain Sachar had visited this library. But, now not many readers visit the library.
The Shaheed Bhagat Singh (SBS) Memorial Rural Library at Jeeda has more than 1,200 books of Punjabi literature for the people of rural areas.
The library was established in 1978 and is one of the oldest libraries in rural areas of Punjab. The library in Balian Wali village was established in 1999 in the memory of Maghi Singh Gill, a famous Punjabi poet (kavishar). Lala Hardyal Library was established by the Teacher’s Home Trust, Bathinda, and still receiveing some readers.
Except these libraries, more than 10 libraries in villages and towns of the district are struggling to survive as the state government seems to have no interest in running the libraries as not many readers are visiting the libraries in the ear of internet.
Government District Library in Bathinda city and many others are facing acute shortage of funds, staff and readers. The Punjab department of higher education is not taking any initiatives to run this library which has a valuable treasure of thousands of books.
Hindustan Times, ” Bathinda: A treasure of books, but not readers,” in Hindustan Times, April 24, 2015. Accessed on April 26, 2015, at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/bathinda/a-treasure-of-books-but-not-readers/article1-1340717.aspx
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