Via The Times of India
On Saturdays, it’s Majra Dabas and Ghevra villages. In the rural parts of northwest Delhi, the Delhi Public Library’s mobile service provides the only option available to children and adults who want to read. It goes there on public demand.
The 2,500-3,000 titles the bus can hold cater to three villages—Budhanpur, Majra Dabas and Salahpur Majra. “Many read… and not just kids,” says Jaibhagwan. He explains that the young and the middle-aged villagers are largely literate; now the aged are too, thanks to night classes at the anganwadi centres. Consequently, the age range of the library’s subscriber base is wide.
One of the first to return a book is Satyavati, 65. A retired physical training teacher, she subscribed when the library started coming to Majra Dabas. “It was a good book,” she says referring to a translation of Rohinton Mistry’s Such a Long Journey, “The entire collection is good.” It is certainly varied. It carries books in English, Hindi and even Punjabi. “We select books according to the demand,” says Mahinder Singh who handles the mobile library division of Delhi Public Library. Satyavati borrows Hazari Prasad Dwivedi’s Anamdas ka Potha.
“The mobile libraries started in 1958,” adds Bharti, “but the service was stopped when diesel buses were banned. It took three years to get CNG ones and relaunch it”. The masterjis started bringing books back to the villages in 2010. Rahisuddin’s register has163 names; of these 41 are active members.