With 35,000 books and access to the internet too, the Government branch library in Perungaluthur is immensely popular with residents

On Monday afternoon, with the temperature hovering around 40 degree Celsius, many residents were on the lookout for any sort of green cover. Some decided to watch a movie in the air-conditioned comfort of cinemas around the city. But nearly 50 residents of Perungaluthur were hooked to books and newspapers, while a few young boys and girls decided to hone their skills in basic computing, at the branch library of the District Library Authority in Perungalathur. Established in 1969, the library functions out of a government building on Krishna Street. With nearly 35,000 books on its shelves and 4,000 registered members, it is in the process of computerising its operations including those for placing orders to borrow and renew books.

“Nothing would have been possible without the support and generous help of donors and residents of Perungalathur,” says K. Damodaran, the librarian. The list of donors who have gifted furniture, books and now computers to the library, is a long one. And the result of their generosity is visible — the library now has four computers, thanks to donors.

An unlimited plan from State-owned BSNL ensures high-speed internet connectivity as well.

The library provides access to the internet absolutely free of cost to school students and senior citizens. From college students and unemployed youth searching for government or private jobs, a sum of Rs. 10 is collected for one hour. Print-outs of documents can be made at just Re. 1 per page, Mr. Damodaran adds. V. Girija, a staff member, provides basic computer training, again, free of cost, to students from families with low incomes.

Young boys and girls are taught the basics and some of them are even allowed to play games. Access to social networking sites and objectionable sites is strictly restricted, Mr. Damodaran says. With help from a lecturer at a government engineering college, they are now in the process of completely computerising the library's operations. They also have a website: http://libperungalathur.blogspot.in, which will be completely ready in a few more weeks.

Regular visitors say that an increasing number of people are visiting the library every day, and that there is now a rush for available space. They added that the Kancheepuram district administration and the State government could consider creating additional space for readers on the first floor.

Not less than 100 people visit the library every day, and at present, residents can only visit between 9 a.m. and noon and between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The library should be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., residents added.

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