Pune Unlock 5: Punekars demand opening of public libraries
Pune: Punekars are appealing the administration to allow public libraries to reopen amid the rising cases of novel coronavirus in the city.
Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad has sent a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray expressing their disappointment for not allowing libraries to reopen. The President of the council, Milind Joshi has stated that all libraries in the state have been closed since March amid the lockdown. Now if the state is allowing hotels and restaurants to resume on 50 per cent capacity, why libraries are not allowed to recommence, he questioned.
First hit by the digital affluence of e-books and now, the lockdown demanded due to the novel coronavirus, reading and lending libraries in the city have been stressed for survival. There are over 190 libraries around Pune and at least 100 have reported reduced subscriptions and revenues over the past five months.
One of the publishers Pradip Champanerkar said, "Books are important for social reforms. Libraries are important for the same. Diwali is around the corner in just one month and every year there are special issues which are designated for the cultural splendour of the festival with a rich and prosperous tradition of the century. Libraries play an important role in bringing Diwali issues to the readers, so it’s the time libraries should recommence its functioning.”
"If restaurants can open and interstate travel is allowed, I don't know why libraries are still not open for the public. A lot of our research work depends on public libraries reopening," says Shailaja Deshmukh, a PhD student.
One of the city’s largest libraries, the British Council closed its Pune operations in June. The library is now going digital and told its members of this decision via email.