City Hangout – Library of Newspapers, Daryaganj
Celebrating the print edition.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This place may not match any preconceived ideas about public libraries.
But that’s exactly what it is. No shelves, no books. Just tonnes of newspapers, all piled up in one corner. A public library devoted exclusively to newspapers.
At least 17 newspapers in Hindi, Urdu and English are available for patrons at Hardayal Library branch no. 1, located next to the post office in Daryaganj.
“All are welcome, no membership needed,” says librarian Pankaj Kumar. The outlet is hugely popular, the librarian adds.
It draws readers from the neighbourhood as well as passersby. Some 20 such libraries supported by taxpayers are scattered around Delhi. At the Daryaganj branch, all the benches are occupied by newspaper readers. The only sounds are of ceiling fans and the crisp crinkling of newspapers as pages are turned.
Almost all the readers appear to be elderly men — at least at the time of our visit. One of them appears to be sleeping, his face resting on a desk. While another gentleman smiles and shakes his head, totally engrossed in the piece he is reading.
And surprisingly, nobody is clutching a cellphone, suggesting that print editions of newspapers are not yet destined for the junk heap of history.
Click here for the offline edition