Lone librarian for this Kupwara library of 32000 books, 5000 borrowers

  • MUZAMIL SHAH
  • Publish Date: Jul 1 2019 3:22AM
  • |
  • Updated Date: Jul 1 2019 3:22AM
Lone librarian for this Kupwara library of 32000 books, 5000 borrowersRepresentational Pic

A lone librarian is looking after the Alama Anwar Shah Memorial Library in Kupwara which has 32000 books and 5000 borrowers, with the government’s libraries department apparently not bothered to run it smoothly.

An official said that the libraries department has completely ignored this library since one year.

ed for smooth running or for any development.

“This library is in this far flung district where hardly any high official come to take stock. The ignorance has made this library no more than an old bookstore room,” an official said, wishing not to be named.

He said that this library hardly some 200 meters from the district headquarters appears to have fallen off the notice of the authorities.

The Department of Libraries built this in 1981 and has kept more than 32000 books available some of which bought years back without any fresh addition since years. “Latest editions of competitive books and journals are not available and old editions are not of much use for a student for entrance exams,” said Danish Ahmad, a resident of Kupwara.

The Alama Anwar Shah Memorial Library has more than 5000 borrowers. But it has no index or catalogue of books, sometimes taking visitors days to locate and borrow a relevant book.

The books are kept inside locked almiras in a single hall even though it has a two-storey building.

“I don’t understand why on one side government is spending lakhs of rupees for education of poor people but on the other hand hardly any book is available related to the new type syllabus for any competitive exams,” said Mudasir Ahmad, who is preparing form civil service exams. The librarian, Ajaz Ahmad, said that the dearth of staff made this library nearly useless for its members.

“It is not possible to remember the name and location of more than 32000 books,” Aijaz said, adding at least four more persons were required for proper functioning of the library.

“Most important is the catalog of the books which were never available in this library, it is very difficult to find a book in these thousands and is not possible to make their catalog single handedly,” Mudasir said.

The library has separate rooms for JE and NEET aspirants, a projector for online video lecture that is lying dysfunctional since ten months as accumulated internet usage bills have not been paid.

“We have at least ten computers and a broadband connection, but from last ten months the internet connection is not working as it is disconnected by the telecom company because of the pending bill,” Mudasir said. 

Many students allege that they suffer due to non-availability of new and latest books and competitive journals. They said the library subscribes for only few newspapers.

The librarian said that subscriptions of magazines and journals were cancelled and soon newspapers not be delivered to the library because of pending unpaid since months.

Naveed Ahmad, a doctorate student of history also finds the library useless.

An official in the district administration Kupwara wishing not be named said that he never received any book from the library whenever he send a request.

“They said we will soon procure the book or will find one and forward to your office,” he said.

Saleem Ahmad came all the way from Lolab to this library looking for reading material but returned disappointed.

“I am looking since the morning but cant find what I need. I request the authorities to provide the latest books, I belong to a poor family I cannot efford procuring new books,” Saleem said. 

Deputy Director Libraries said that there is a dire shortage of manpower in the department.  

“The department is running out of budget that is why the bills are pending, but now it came to my notice I assure within days bills will be paid,” Shaheen Khan, the deputy director told Greater Kashmir.

Another department official Shaheen Khan said she has issued a transfer order of one employee posted at Handwara library to Kupwara. 

“The pending bills will be paid and internet facility will be started within days,” she said.