Quake-damaged Nepal National Library awaits reconstruction

Kathmandu, August 30

As the country is celebrating tenth Library Day on August 31, Nepal National Library, one of the biggest libraries which was damaged in the 2015 earthquakes, is still awaiting reconstruction.

The books kept in sacks and stored in the rooms of Mahendra Bhawan Higher Secondary School, Siphal, are being destroyed by pests such as roaches, silverfish and various types of beetles. Books from 2,000 sacks still need to be taken out and placed safely in racks. The books arranged in racks too are placed tightly and haven’t been properly managed.

The library has 150,000 books. It has books on religion, history, geography, social sciences, metaphysics, fiction and non-fiction, apart from periodicals, maps and photographs, reports, research papers and children’s books.

Two rooms provided to store books in the school aren’t enough as one of the rooms is filled with furniture. “The books need to be protected but there isn’t enough space,” shared Basanta Raj Pantha, library officer.

The eastern part of the library has collapsed blocking the main entrance to the building. Walls in the inner rooms of the building have also started crumbling.

“The building is unsafe to enter. Recently, one of the employees was seriously injured when the floor he was standing on collapsed,” informed Prem Raj Adhikari, acting chief of the library.

The old and huge paintings inside the library building need to be moved elsewhere immediately. “Some of these paintings were gifted to the Ranas by foreign statesmen and have very high value,” informed Adhikari.

Though the Ministry of Education has already allocated a budget of Rs 15 million, a new building for the library cannot be constructed without a ministerial-level decision, as per Adhikari.

The Nepal National Library was established by the Government in January 1957. The library then had 34,292 books and periodicals.