BANGALORE: Libraries, by definition, offer choice of books for reference or lending. Libraries, in general, are also havens of silence and peace as visitors involve themselves in reading. Contradicting such generalisation and definition is the City Central Library located at Konankunte.
The Library is located on the first floor of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) ward office. This Library lacks the most basic infrastructure facility — space for books, giving a preview of what can be expected of this place.
Books are stacked in columns in space that cannot exceed 5*10 feet making it a feat to retrieve the books of your choice. Oh! And not forget exceedingly minimal maneuvering space here for visitors.
When City Express met Vijay Kumar M, library incharge, he spoke about problems faced by the readers. “Readers have complained several times to the City Central Library Department authorities for past seven to eight years, but in vain. However, the authorities have said that the Library would soon be shifted to the BBMP’s current ward office premises.”
Every year, the library gets from around 300 to 1,000 books from the Government. But around 4,000 to 5,000 books remain bound in plastic covers and out of reach for readers due to space constraints. Vijay Kumar is the only person working in the Library and also is responsible for its maintenance.
While the Library is free of dirt and dust, it woefully reflects the staff shortage. Vijay Kumar had requested the authorities to appoint civic workers to dust books and bookshelves, and to sweep the floor. But the authorities agreed to pay only a mere Rs 100 per month. I was left with no option but to cancel the request and to do the work myself,” he said.
There is no supply of electricity here.
“We moved to this space in 1999 and since then we have had no power. Whenever I ask for electricity supply, I’m told that the power supply will be restored after shifting the Library to the new premises.”
Not surprisingly, the Library that is scheduled to remain open from 9 am to 8 pm, with a break between 12 noon and 4 pm, closes by 6.30 pm or whenever the sunlight goes down in the evening.
“During summers, the heat is unbearable. We have requested our department officials to at least provide the Library with a bulb and a fan.” The library department officials however were unavailable for comment over the last few days.