The Public Library has almost completed it shift to the National Library located in Kawajangsa, Thimphu. The move happened on 20 November 2023.
The National Library is home to many special collections, including Kashos, which dates primarily from the reigns of the Second and Third Druk Gyalpos, Sa thram, Ma thram, and collections about the Legal Deposit Act, all the publications in our nation. The archive which is part of the National Library was first made available in 2006.
Dr Yonten Dargay, the Director of the National Library said, “The National Library was established to provide services to the nation and not only for the cultural organizations. Most individuals think in that way, so I want to clarify the misunderstanding for everyone.”
Likewise, he added that the guests’ and patrons’ interests are one of the factors that determine how many individuals visit. According to him, tourists, students, and researchers make up the majority of library patrons, and the facilities in the National Library serve as a reference.
“One of the reasons the public library is moved in with the National Library is to attract more visitors to the National Library. On top of that improved services can be provided for the visitors coming to the Public Library,” he added.
Dechen Ninzie Lhamo, a volunteer and a patron of the Public Library said, “I’ve seen a decrease in library patronage as a volunteer, with hardly seven individuals using the space at any given time. With its well-stocked shelves and brand-new furnishings, our library places a high priority on community comfort.”
She suggested, “Increasing knowledge of our library’s location and resources is necessary to increase members. Various events, collaborations, and complimentary WiFi might draw in additional guests.”
Tshering Tashi, a member of the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Public Library since 2008 said that the number of patrons varies, with fewer people going during the winter months. Even during their school hours, students would visit the library.
He shared, “Most of the people are not aware of the library and there is the public’s ignorance of the resource. I haven’t observed any interactions that promote reading and library use.”
He further added, “While I have the opportunity to voice concerns, I would ask the government to put a little effort into the Library…I always ask people to visit the library to inculcate reading habits. I actively support library visits and the people in the library are welcoming and kind.”
Tshering, the librarian of the Public Library since 2007 said, “This year’s visitation count of the Public Library has dropped. One of the primary causes is that the public library has moved, and the majority of people are unaware of this new location. Furthermore, there has been no formal notification regarding the relocation of the library.”
However, he also mentioned that over the years, the number of applicants for membership in the Public Library has increased, with youths making up the majority of those seeking membership in the following years.
In the year 2023, there were about 600 -700 visitors monthly on average to the Public Library, and in the year 2024, the number of visitors has dropped to approximately 460 visitors per month on average.