Libraries in Panchthar losing readers

Phidim, September 10

Public libraries are rapidly turning into ghost buildings as the readers have stopped thronging the knowledge centers for the past few years in Phidim and other places in Panchthar.

With the advent of technology such as the Internet, Facebook and Youtube, the libraries have started witnessing zero presence of readers in the district. Not too long ago, Panchthar Community Library in Phidim used to draw a crowd of people every day. In the past few years though, the number of visitors to the community library is almost nil.

Manager Mangal Begha at the library said the library, which is housed in a three-storey building, has more than 4,000 books on Nepali and English literature, history, religion, language, culture and grammar. The library has a collection of musical instruments for the people interested in music and songs too.

Begha attributes the alarming loss of people’s interest in the library to the rising popularity of social media while journalist and writer Ram Prakash Samthing said that interest of the readers towards the library had declined as reading culture among the journalists, professors, teachers and others had gone down. “Non availability of the books at the library is another cause for the diminishing interest in the library,” Samthing added.

Library Chairman, Narendra Kumar Kerung shared that the district was drawing flak from national and international levels for the decline in reading culture and low turnout of the readers at the library. Kerung said the number of visitors at the library currently stands at zero.

Phidim Library staff Sangita Dewan shared that sometimes the library sees up to 12 visitors in a single month, but most of the time the number of visitors is zero. It has been learnt that the state of libraries at Yangnam, Yasok, Ranitar, and Aangsarang are just as dismal.

The intellectual growth of the current generation hooked up on the Internet and social media is questionable say the seniors in Phidim.