HYDERABAD: Hundreds of hardcover, leather-bound books have been dumped outside the Public Library in Langer Houz, as at least half the collection in the library got perforated due to the infestation of termites and bookworms during the lockdown.
A few others, meanwhile, were dampened in the recent floods. The Langer Houz library smells like rotting paper. Each one of its four walls is dilapidated with marks of water seepage. There is a thick layer of grime on every book.
Volunteers helping out with the reorganisation of the library are left coughing in the sunlit reading room with dirt swimming in the air. "We did not know that the water had gotten it. It was only when we opened the doors of the library after seven months that we saw that many books were destroyed," said one of the volunteers.
"These books are of little use now. Some of them do not even have all the pages, whereas most of them are now porous and dotted with termite grooves," said Yadaiah, the librarian at the Langer Houz library. He added, "This library, like many others in the city, was inundated in the recent floods. A part of the age-old stock of leather-bound and rare hardcover copies has become damp and useless. The ink too has faded away."
This, however, is not the only library in the city that is crying for attention. A bibliophile, who frequents libraries in the city, said, "The stacks are very poorly maintained in many libraries. There are many rare books in public libraries at Karwan, Khairatabad , Mangalhat , and Patelaburj."
"We are waiting for the State government to issue orders to reopen the many libraries in the city," said P Prasanna, chairman of City Grandhalaya Samstha. "We are maintaining all our stacks regularly," she added.