After 15 years, library to lend books again

98-year-old library has 2.75 lakh books

After 15 years, library to lend books again

After a gap of nearly 15 years, the State Library at Cubbon Park may soon start issuing books to its members again.

The 98-year-old library, which has a collection of 2.75 lakh books including some rare ones, had stopped issuing books to readers more than a decade ago.

“We are planning to begin issuing books in the next two months. The facility was stopped since a few rare books went missing,” said K G Venkatesh, Director, Department of State Libraries. The measure comes in the wake of dwindling number of visitors.

According to Venkatesh, there has been a drastic decline in the number of visitors to the library, particularly the children’s library, over the past four to five years.

Lack of parking facility

Heavy traffic on the Cubbon Park Road with little space for parking vehicles in front of the library also dissuades people from paying a visit.

“People coming to the High Court park vehicles near the library. The parking fee too has been increased. This has become a deterrent for those who would like spend few hours in the library reading,” Venkatesh said. He hoped that bibliophiles might evince more interest if the library begins to issue books again.

The children’s library was built two decades ago and has a collection of about 30,000 books. The library building replaced a KSTDC canteen. The officials in the department say the library risks losing the prime location due to the decreasing number of visitors.

There already have been proposals to allot the place to the Court. A portion of the space has already gone to the Wine Board. “The library should not be shut down just because the number of visitors has reduced. We will initiate measures to attract reading public back to the place,” Venkatesh told Deccan Herald.

The Libraries department has sought co-operation from the Department of Public Instructions to kindle the interest in the library. It has sought to make a visit to the library mandatory as part of educational trips of schools. The Fisheries department has been roped in to set up aquariums in the children’s library.

Litterateur  U R Ananthamurthy suggested a networking among all the state libraries so that readers can request for a book from a library in any part of the State. “This is how city libraries in London have retained their popularity,” he said.

Welcoming the decision, litterateur Chandrashekar Patil said lending books will definitely help the department revive the library movement.

“People in the City do not have time to travel every day to read books in the library. If books are issued, they can come once a week. At the same time, the library should not fail to provide reading space inside the library,” he added.

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