A documentary on the Ernakulam Public Library will be released on Sunday

A public library is one of the most enduring memorials in a community. And the 142-year-old Ernakulam Public Library is no different. Interestingly, the library functions as the foundation of the society's educational and cultural growth.

A 30-minute documentary on the Ernakulam Public Library, ‘Vayanayude Kaiyoppu,' the first on this institution, made by the students of Bhavan's Institute of Media Studies, Ernakulam, traces the origin, rich history and also takes a peek at the future plans of the library.

The English understood the importance of educating the ‘natives' and they started an elementary school. And close to this school they also set up a library. Libraries are not made but they grow. Gradually, the Ernakulam Public Library began to grow and books jostled for space inside this small building. Records available in the library reveal that the then Diwan called a meeting where a decision was taken to expand the library. The then head of education, A. F. Sealy was the first president.

Through reminiscences from senior members like Justice K. Sukumaran and novelist K. L. Mohana Varma, the documentary gives glimpses of the history, growth and milestones of the library. And simultaneously the film delineates the history and development of Kochi.

The library boasts of nearly two lakh books that includes books published decades ago and the latest releases. They have been arranged, subject-wise, in a built-up space of 7,000 sq.ft. spread over two floors. Books published in English, Malayalam, Tamil, Konkani, and Sanskrit are now available. The library has about 10,000 members from all walks of life.

The present secretary of the library, Ashok M. Cherian, reveals in the documentary the new projects and future plans. Formation of reading clubs with the assistance of residents' associations and delivery of books at home is one of the new initiatives.

Plans are afoot to modernise the library. This includes a full-fledged building complex on the 45 cents of the land owned by the library. Building an open-air stage is also on the anvil. The documentary is scripted by Ravi Kuttikad, edited and directed by N. B. Raghunath, music by Rajesh Cherthala and commentary by Ajini P. Koshy.

The documentary will be released at a function to be held at the library on January 29 at 5 p.m.