Those preparing for CA, public service exams study there for hours at a stretch thanks to the facilities available

Within minutes of the main door of the Anna Centenary Library (ACL) opening at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, four students have taken their seats at the ‘Bring your own book section'. They are not the only early birds as every five minutes, some students dressed in casuals walk in a hurry to see if they are lucky to get their favourite corner or a place facing the green lawns. It is rather quiet inside, except if you have a neighbour typing fast on his calculator. Or to hear the clamour from a latecomer settling down with his paraphernalia – set of four-five books, water bottle, head phone and a mobile – on the table.

“Two weeks ago, by 8.20 a.m. the section was packed. In fact there was a queue outside, some of them were accommodated outside the periodical section on the first floor,” says V.Suprajaa, preparing for exams conducted by UPSC, adding that the section will be full till the examinations get over. This section can accommodate 90 people.

Unique to ACL

Students preparing for CA form the majority, followed by those studying for public service examinations. Every student who has used this section – with its air conditioned room, comfy seats, Wifi facility and calm environment – will swear that its congenial atmosphere is a blessing for the student community. The concept of a ‘Bring your own book section' is quite unique in the city.

While the American Library and British Council Library boast state-of-the-art services and a wide collection, both do not allow visitors to bring their own books and read. Even Connemara Public Library, though spacious, does not offer such a feature. The Library at Russian Cultural Centre does have such a feature but is open only four days a week.

Even if it means travelling a distance of over 15 km, many think it is worth making a trip to ACL. If Ayushi Jain, a resident of Broadway, has to ensure she gets her favourite place then sometimes she even leaves home pretty early in the morning. “Today, I had my breakfast on the bus,” says the 22-year-old preparing for CA final. “With many relatives over, home is not a place to prepare for the exams.” Many youngsters like her ensure they make the most of the library hours after travelled long distance. “Till we are asked to leave, we are here,” says Ayushi.

Extended hours

It was during the previous government that the student community had represented to the Chief Minister to extend the library hours. “Previously it was from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., which was extended to 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. – 13 hours of study is good enough,” she says, adding that it is “like a second home”. Less than two months ago, M. Saravanan, who was staying as a paying guest at Vadapalani shifted to Kotturpuram, to cut down on the travel time.

With so many of them studying together, the scope for getting their doubts clarified from other students is high, says CA students S. Priya and T.S. Thiyagarajan. The ‘bring your own book' section also has some working professionals who come in the evenings.

Although the rush at the section is mainly because of the examinations, the student community is upset with the proposal to shift the library. They would like the facility to remain in Kotturpuram.

As Suprajaa, a resident of Adambakkam, says: “We have created a page on Facebook (Occupy Anna Centenary Library) where we want to start discussions. I am sure the feedback would serve as evidence in the court as how helpful this place has been,” she adds.

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