Kolkata Introduces India’s First ‘Tram’ Library

Photo: Nazish Mirekar

Kolkata has many firsts to its credit. One more such feat is entering the hallowed books of the city. A tram library is being introduced in the iconic area of College street. It is said that if a book doesn’t exist in College Street, it was never published. It is also the Asia’s largest book market.  

College Street area is the educational academic district of Kolkata with Calcutta University and Presidency University stands tall. The area around the street also is home to the most iconic educational institutions of the city. To attract the students and to reinvigorate the love for trams and reading, a unique TRAM LIBRARY is coming up in the area. 

Since Cyclone Amphan, four tram routes out of six that operated pre Corona have started functioning and from 24th September, the Shyambazar- Esplanade route will also resume. Notably, the route is from Shyambazar to Esplanade that traverses through the academic institutions covering the entire College Street.

It is on this route that the Tram Library is coming up. The Tram Library being introduced by the West Bengal Transport Corporation that oversees India’s only functional tramways, is a special tram with a section for books, magazines etc which can be read while traveling in the tram. The tram has been decorated accordingly. The youth can read the books and pass their time productively while traveling. 

Notably, this is the India’s first of its kind initiative. Not many examples of such a concept exist worldwide. The tram library in addition to the books, will also provide free Wifi Hotspot to passengers to read online books while traveling. So, they can lay their hands on both physical books and e books. 

As a campaign to celebrate the inaugural of the Tram Library, free pens are being given on all ticket purchases on the Tram Library for the first one week. Speaking on the initiative, Rajanvir Singh Kapur, MD of WBTC that operates the Kolkata Tramways said, “The idea is to catapult the tram as the choice mode for Kolkata students again“. 

Books relating to various competitive examinations like IAS, IPS, WBCS, GRE, GMAT etc have been put in the library for the starters. The books would be updated regularly. Recently, WBTC installed art in some trams which depicts how trams began in 1873 and got electrified in 1900.

Since 1902, the electric tram cars have been adorning the city of joy.  A non-exhaustive list of Institutions in the education district around College Street and within 500 meters from the tram route from Shymbazar to Esplanade.

In future, regular book reading sessions would be planned in the tram library. Book launches would also take place. In addition, literary festivals are also on the cards.