Covid snapped our connect with readers: Amritsar District Librarian

Covid snapped our connect with readers: Amritsar District Librarian

Her efforts to transform the district library in Rani Ka Bagh from a sleepy, public space to a lively centre of community interaction had been commendable. District Librarian Prabhjot Sandhu always strived to make the library an epicentre for community engagement.

Neha Saini

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 21

Her efforts to transform the district library in Rani Ka Bagh from a sleepy, public space to a lively centre of community interaction had been commendable. District Librarian Prabhjot Sandhu always strived to make the library an epicentre for community engagement.

Prabhjot Sandhu, District Librarian

Walking into a public library never really was an everyday activity for many in city. But over the years, we had developed a connection between our readers, members of the library through upgraded services and increased activities. The lockdown and pandemic has broken that connect with masses again.

When the lockdown was announced due to the pandemic, the district library in the city had just received the news of being given a grant of Rs1 crore for infrastructural development by the district administration.

But the lockdown and long period of suspended activities have taken its toll on the pace of progress. “Walking into a public library never really was an everyday activity for many in city. But over the years, we had developed a connection between our readers, members of the library through upgraded services and increased activities. The lockdown and pandemic has broken that connect with masses again,” she said.

Her routine as a librarian has not changed much with respect to her professional and administrative duties. “I start my day by ensuring that the sanitisation process is completed without any lapse. The tasks for the day include checking the stocks, cataloguing, documentation process as we had begun the process of digitisation of our archives. Most of the day passes by taking care of maintenance issues and writing official requests for service upgrades,” she informs. What she misses the most in her routine, though, is the people-to-people interaction that used to happen before pandemic.

“We used to have a lot of senior citizens come to library to spend their day. Helping them with digital services, listen to their reading sessions and discussions later and even helping some students out with their queries used to make our day. We hosted several book launch ceremonies when we reopened in January. Recently, we also got a sanitary pad dispensing machine installed to upgrade our facility. But the activities have not been able to revive after the second lockdown. Even with all digital upgrade and infrastructure support, with no readers coming in, the purpose of a library remains unfulfilled,” she says. Public libraries in the city are yet to reopen for visitors and members, in absence of the any clear guidelines by the state government. She says that she has been writing to the authorities concerned including the DC, to issue formal guidelines in regard to allowing public libraries open for people.

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