Sherab Lhamo

Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Public Library in Thimphu is relocated to the National Library and Archives of Bhutan in Kawajangsa, in Thimphu. It is nothing like the old public library at Chubachu on Norzin Lam.

The old one, Thimphu’s only public library for a population of close to 150,000, remained crammed and gasping for space for years. For years, the public library suffered from a lack of investment and space and readers and books were cramped in a few congested rooms. For want of space, the library in 2013 initiated a mobile library service.

The old public library at Chubachu

The single-storey Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Public Library, which was established in 1979, had only fifteen small shelves. Of the 47,479 books in the library, thousands of old and poor-condition books were discarded every year. Mostly, students visited to read and borrow books from the library.

The new public library is spacious, organised and wears the look of a proper modern library. The move to the new location is expected to provide improved services, and make more books available for readers, according to a library official.

Richen Palden, who had been a member of the library for the past six years, said the new library was much more comfortable and had plenty of places to sit and read.

“There are also more varieties of books now,” she said.

Another member, a student who has been a member for the past 11 years, said that the library missed some of the interesting titles. “I am hopeful that this new place will encourage more visitors to visit the library.”

The National Library official said the library and books at the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB), would also be relocated and merged with the National Library by the end of next month.