Members say it needs more space, light and books catalogued

The Ashok Nagar public library in the building of Mangalore Urban Development Authority at Urwa Stores is in a deplorable state though it has at least 700 active members of a total of 1,539 readers. At an event held on Sunday to mark the National Library Week, readers poured out their woes at a forum provided for them to speak about their experience with the library.

The books look old and are stacked haphazardly in the attic and one metal cupboard, stuffed with books, is slanting and looks like it is about to collapse.

Captain Ravindra, one of the members, said the books were antiquated and were not organised in any order. It was difficult to see the books (let alone read them) as there was not enough light inside the library. He said he once offered books, collected over years during his stay in Mumbai, that he wished to donate to the library. But he was told to get them himself. “The staff is helpless… the government must do something,” he said. He said at least someone from the Central Library could have attended the event to show their interest.

All the readers and the librarian said the library required more space to expand so that books could be kept properly. One patron, who did not wish to be named, said, readers had written several letters but nothing had happened. She said it had no place for women to sit and read books. During the rains, the books get spoilt.

Lalitha, a reader, said the library was very useful for senior citizens. But one has to bend and take books. “It will be great help if the books are organised. It is a small request,” she said.

Deepa, the librarian, said it was true there was no light, catalogue or space.

Radhakrishna, councillor of Derebail South West ward, said, “The staff should make a requisition to the department. Readers should give request to Deputy Commissioner, head office and the area MLA.” While readers said the library could be shifted to Radio Park, he said that was unlikely as the High Court had said no public place may be used for any other purpose.

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