Thimphu’s only public library for a population of close to 100,000 is crammed and gasping for space. For want of space so, the library in 2013 initiated a mobile library service.

A bus goes around the city carrying more than 3,000 books. This door-to-door service happens every Sunday.

The single-storey Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Public Library (JDWPL), which was established in 1979, has only fifteen small shelves. Of the total 47,479 books in the library, 8,995 were discarded this year.

Officiating Librarian, Tshering Phuntsho, said that the books that were removed were in bad state of repair.

“We needed space for new books.”

The library submitted a proposal to thromde for new space in 2002. There has not been any development since.

“We put a proposal again in 2014 but the city officials said they didn’t have fund,” said Tshering Phuntsho.

The government provided 27M for the establishment of the new JDWPL in 2015. The library was provided a space at the Royal University of Bhutan premises for three years.

Tshering Phuntsho said that the library is concerned because the three-year term is nearing.

There are more than 3,700 members registered with the library. Until 2005, there were only 350 registered members. June saw 19 new members join the library. Of the total members today, 70 percent are children.

A group called ‘Friends of the Library’ initiated reading class for volunteers and the members every Saturday. The classes are held twice a week in summer and winter breaks.

A member of the group, Siok Sian Pek-Dorji, said, “I have been part of the group for more than 10 years. We try to raise books for the library.”

Phurpa Lhamo