R.K. Library at Narayanaguda is a book lover’s paradise. This private library owned by Abdul Rasheed Khan is a treasure trove of comics, novels and magazines.
As one enters, whiff of old books stacked in the small library fills up the lungs. The sheer number of books here will overwhelm any bookworm.
The library has something on offer for everyone. For comic lovers, this library will prove to be a Pandora’s Box waiting to be opened. Original issues of Asterix and Tintin are strung across the library and stacks of DC Comics, Phantom, Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Richie Rich line its walls. Indian comic lovers too won’t be disappointed here as the library has a grand number of Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha and Diamond Comics issues. According to Rasheed Khan, Tintin, Asterix and Phantom are the evergreen sellers.
A membership at this library will be equally rewarding for novel lovers. While three walls of the library are donned with novels by Tom Clancy, Robin Cook, Arthur Hailey, Jeffrey Archer, Wilbur Smith and other such famous writers, one wall is completely occupied by a collection of Mills and Boon and Silhouette. The library also has novels by Indian writers who have recently risen to fame, which include the likes of Chetan Bhagat and Ravinder Singh, who according to Rasheed Khan are in demand by young readers.
There is a good collection of Telugu novels too with novels by Yandamuri Veerendranath and Malladi Venkata Krishna Murthy. “Novels by Yaddanapudi Sulochana Rani and Madireddy Sulochana Rani are borrowed mainly by female readers and are a hit among them,” says Rasheed Khan.
While all the well-known national current affairs and business magazines are available for rent here, there are also a few old issues of magazines such as Reader’s Digest, Overdrive, Maxim, Geo and National Geographic.
Though there are a great number of quality books at this library, the number of members is dismal. “My father had started this library 45 years ago. It was named Andhra One Anna Library then, but after the Telangana issue, we renamed it R.K. Library. We had around 500 customers once upon a time but since cable television and later internet has come into existence, the numbers started to dwindle. Now there are less than 50 members.” He further says, “Even though the library is located on a major road and there are many junior colleges around, no one even feels curious enough to enter and check out the books.”
Though all is not well, there is still hope. K.V. Manohar, a class five student is a regular here. “I love reading books and watching television equally. My favourite books are Secret Seven and Famous Five,” says Manohar. After Manohar leaves, a woman returns a Mills and Boon and borrows two children’s novels. “I have been a member here for four years. I borrow books for my own reading as well as for my kids,” she says.