Situated in the heart of Chandni Chowk Hardayal Municipal Public Library (HMPL) is one of the very few oldest buildings that have been able to withstand the onslaught of modern times. This is the oldest public library of Delhi, named after the great revolutionary and freedom fighter Lala Hardayal, M.A. who was a resident of Old Delhi.
The library was set up in 1862, as part of reading club meant for the whites. Englishmen coming to India used to carry a lot of books with them to read in the several month long sea journey. These books were given to the reading room called the Institute Library, which was a part of the Lawrence Institute, named after the then Viceroy of India. The building was built between 1861 and 1866. Today the building is called the Town Hall and houses the offices of the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi.