SHILLONG, April 23 - As the world celebrates World Book Day today, it comes as a pleasant surprise that number of book readers in the Meghalaya State Capital continue to increase despite several distractions.
World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day is held annually on April 23 and is organised by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), to promote reading, publishing and copyright.
One of the oldest libraries � the State Central Library � of the region is located here in the State Capital. The library dates from the Colonial era and is stashed with over two lakh collections.
�The number of readers is increasing by the day. We currently have close to 30,000 registered readers in our library. Our collections are also increasing,� AC Marbaniang, assistant librarian said.
The profile of these readers is varied. The young and the old alike throng the library looking for books, despite availability of information over the Internet at the click of a button.
So what draws such a huge number of readers towards books? �People still want to hold a book and read. It is something entirely different from browsing the Internet,� Marbaniang added.
The librarian surrounded by books in a serene workplace said she loves to cosy up with books related to psychology and biographies. �I love to read books of Paulo Coelho, Khushwant Singh and several others, there are so many favourite authors,� the librarian blushed with a childlike glee.
On the other hand, City SP Vivek Syiem, a voracious reader, finds peace and time to read his favourite non-fictions in the most unlikely places � the bathroom. �Yes, it is true. The bathroom is the place I spend my time to read. Currently I am reading a book on the Mongols,� he added.
He says that it is not possible to read anywhere and anytime due to his hectic work schedule and his school going son. Syiem recalled he has ordered a lamp so that he can read in the bed while his son sleeps and summons one of his staff to put it in his car.
�This lamp is a new addition for my book reading habit so that I can read without disturbing my son�s sleep,� Syiem said adding, he encourages his son to read books too while not disturbing his other interests.
For poet-writer, Ananya S Guha: �reading books is an intellectual necessity.� He believes that surroundings are an important factor as well as proper encouragement by teachers and parents to inculcate the habit of book reading.
�It begins at childhood, and develops in school. The continuity is climaxed at adulthood as thirst for knowledge increases. But essentially it is childhood curiosity for living in an imagined world,� Guha, who is also the Regional Director of Indira Gandhi National Open University, said.
Sadly, a lovable individual and fine ambassador of book reading, Sambha Lamarr, who opened a private library and a book store in Nongrim hills � Bookmark Sahaki � passed away last year in March.
These individuals are just a few of the many book readers in the State Capital who have and are actively promoting the habit of book reading in their own way - be it Sambha by offering a free space and books to read, or Marbaniang who is all smiles to encourage readers in the library or Syiem by encouraging his son or Guha turning a new page for his students to enter into the fantastic world of books.