BANGALORE: The City Central Library situated at St John’s Road is one of the oldest public libraries in the city. Today, this library houses more than 75,000 books and a staggering 3,700 members.
This remarkable figure illustrates how much a public library can do in inculcating reading habits, imparting knowledge and also become a part of a citizen’s life. The librarian I K Jallihal informed City Express that the old building was established in 1978. However, this does not mean that the library is free of any problems as it is inundated by the problems of bad infrastructure, continuous traffic noise as well as parking woes.
Apart from the dusty environs, the interiors of the building looks fine, but the exterior looks quite awful. A single look at the building is enough to tell you the age of the building and how the infrastructure has been left unattended for years. The library was modified to some extent recently as one can still smell the fresh paint while entering the library premises. Jallihal said, “Just two days ago, we got the whole building painted.”
Unlike many other libraries, this library is not housed in any private premises, but is based in a BBMP granted building. The librarian added, “The previous Deputy Director had written to the BBMP Commissioner on many occasions to expand the building. But since the building is very old, they refused on the grounds that the building is not strong enough for expansion.”
On the traffic issue, Jallihal added, “Apart from the constant traffic noise and the dust from the surrounding area, we do not have any other issues.” He further added, “There is a small kabab stall nearby and its odour is unbearable for the readers. I have written to the BBMP Commissioner. However, nothing has been done about it so far.”
As far as the internet connection is concerned, the library has a good browsing facility. S Vasudev, a regular visitor of the library said, “The internet section is a recent addition to the library. There are many things that can be improved in this library. Lack of staff is a major issue here. It would also be good if they could add more books to the competitive books section.”
Although the present facility is not good enough to face any emergency, the library at least has one fire extinguisher. M G Ahmed, who has been visiting the library for the past 25 years, said, “This is an excellent library. The only issue that bothers a few readers, is the lack of sufficient parking space.”
Mohmmand Baqar, studying in QAH school in 9th standard said, “I come here often. I get all the books that I need and I feel that they have a great collection. This place has been an important source for all my school assignments. The internet connection also has a decent speed and I have absolutely no complaints.”
On contacting the Deputy Director, H S Gaddi, he said, “ We are planning to make more additions to the competitive section. With regard to renovation work of the library, more than `1 lakh has been invested from our fund to carry out the work.”