Ernest Hemingway once said: “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” He was right, wasn’t he?
Growing up, I spent a lot of time in libraries, either working on school and then college assignments, or just for the pleasure of reading story books.
I don’t see today’s kids and young adults visiting libraries in large numbers anymore. But if you are someone who loves that particular scent that you get from books or prefer a hard copy to reading from a kindle, here are Delhi’s top-five libraries that you can become member of.
Dr. BC Roy Children’s Reading Room and Library, ITO
Brainchild of noted cartoonist K Shankar Pillai, who opened it in the memory of eminent physician Dr B C Roy, this is Delhi’s only children’s library.
It is open to all kids between ages 5 to 16. It offers Normal, Special and Double Special memberships. This library has a collection of more than 40,000 books on a wide variety of subjects – science, art and culture, mythology, literature and fiction etc. – that are of interest to children.
Timings: Open all days, from 9:30am to 5:00pm; closed on national holidays.
Delhi Public Library, SP Mukherji Marg, Chandni Chowk
Run by Delhi government, this is one of the biggest and well-spread out organisation, having 35 branches across the city – the main building is at SP Mukherji Marg in Chandni Chowk. It also operates mobile units in several areas.
DPL also runs one Braile library. The membership is free of cost – you just have to be a resident of Delhi.
You have to sign up for Rs 20 to become a member if you want to borrow library books, because only then you are issued borrower cards.
Those below 15 years need their parent’s consent for gaining membership. The DPL has over 16 lakh books, in many languages, including English, Hindi, Urdu and Sanskrit.
It has academic books in different subjects across all levels, from primary to post graduation and beyond, and competitive examinations as well.
Timings: 10:00am to 6:45pm on weekdays and 10:00am to 5:00pm on Sundays.
Sahitya Kala Akademi Library, Firoz Shah Road
Located at Mandi House, this is one of the most well-stocked libraries in the city with books in Hindi, English and 24 Indian languages that is accessible to anyone.
The books are primarily related to cultural and social history of the country. An added advantage is it offers photocopying and scanning facility. The membership fee is Rs 2,000 a year.
Timings: Open all days from 9:30am to 6:00pm; closed on Sundays and gazetted holidays.
The American Centre Library, Kasturba Gandhi Marg
The reading room facility is free but to borrow books, you can become a member at Rs 400 per year; permissible to anyone over 16 years.
A member can borrow up to six books, two back issues of periodicals and two DVD’s and can access to library accounts online.
It has books on topics related to American society, politics, culture, and its Constitution. This one offers free Wi-Fi facility within its premises and is run by US embassy.
Timings: Open all days from 11:00am to 6:00pm; closed on Indian and American holidays
British Council Library India, Kasturba Gandhi Marg
If you want to know more about Britain and the British, this spot has more than 85,000 online academic books and 14,000 e-journals of British content.
It also subscribes to more than 4,000 e-newspapers and e-magazines. It holds workshops, book launches, film screening and book club meetings and invites all its members for these.
The library has different membership plans, starting at Rs 2,200 per year, including student discounts.
Timings: 9:00am to 7:00pm on weekdays, closed on Sundays and gazetted holidays.