08 February 2007

Some Libraries Barring Readers in Kathmandu

By Harsha Man Maharjan

These days I am in a dilemma. I have a question? Why does some body open a library? In Rana period we know Ranas incarcerated few Nepalese for opening a library. We have named it ‘Library Parba’.
Today some libraries are barring readers from using their books. Could you believe this? But it is a reality. It is happening in Kathmandu.
Visit Nepal Bharat Sanskritik Kendra Library Indian library in RNAC, New Road you will find this. It happened on a day few years ago. I used to visit the library whenever I had time. On the day, the guard there bars me from using books. After I kept my bag he requested me to show my student card. I searched my card inside my bag. I showed him my card. Yet he did not allow using books there. He informed me that my card had no valid date. At that time I was waiting the result my BA III year’s result. So I could have a valid card unless I doctored it or get forged card. I put my problem to officials there. They were helpless. At last I stopped visiting there till I joined Masters.
This rule works even today there. The reason they provided me were interesting. It was a way to check unnecessary visitors who jammed the library. According the officials many people entered the library only to drink water, to pee, to watch tv or to meet friends. Can’t people with valid student cards also visit the library to do above mentioned job? I am still thinking over this.
British Council too has a mechanism to check its readers. It allows its non-members to use only few reference materials. This rule applies even in Social Science Baha Library. There only members can use library's books.
This rule does not apply in Tribhuwan University Central Library, Nepal National Library, Kathmandu Valley Public Library, Maartin Chautari Media Documentation Centre, Friends for Peace Library and other libraries.

1 comment:

Saral Nepal said...

Your dilemma is not without reasons. I didn't know what I was missing until I came to the US. I was a regular visitor/member of British Council when it was still in Kantipath. I also frequented American Library. Keshar mahal - I visited few times and gave up. TU - I never had an opportunity. Local libraries near my home were dismal at best. Among few books and magazines they had, they were either torn, foul words written over them and badly abused.
I don't blame the custodians too much in their attitude. Stealing and mishandeling of library materials are very rampant and may seem very minor offense to the offender but have serious effect on the library itself.
Only when I came to the US did I realize how much of it we are missing back home. I've moved around several cities here and I always find a public library nearby. The best thing is they are always free. Free - but it doesn't mean the service is bad. It is superb.
True, owing to poverty our resources are limited and we can probably not imagine a free public library with so much facility very soon. However, the sense of ownership and basic civic manner is what I see lacking among us too.
Sojho Kura