A branch library located in Gandhi Park in East Tambaram is all set for renovation. The library was established in 1957 and caters to the requirements of book lovers and readers of magazines and newspapers in a few wards of East Tambaram.

The library nestled under the shade of trees within the park is all set for renovation, as it is too cramped, considering that there are nearly 4,500 members and more than 200 people visit the library every day.

About Rs. 20 lakh would be spent to create a two-storey building at its place, including Rs. 10 lakh from the constituency development funds of Tambaram MLA S.R.Raja. The rest of the money would be sourced from Tambaram Municipality and the Local Library Authority.

Tenders were awarded and work on constructing a new building for the library would commence soon. Temporarily, the library would be shifted to another building inside the park. Enquiries with officials of the LLA of Kancheepuram district revealed that the East Tambaram branch was fortunate to receive support from the local body, while many other areas in the southern suburbs of Chennai were deprived of public libraries.

Ullagaram-Puzhuthivakkam, a third-grade municipality, did not have a library so long and only now a building was under construction. Even among the over a dozen town panchayats around Tambaram, there were no libraries in a few.

Among the 25 village panchayats in the southern suburbs that come within St. Thomas Mount Panchayat Union, a number of them lacked a library. Some village panchayats did not have buildings to house the libraries due to want of land or funds to construct one. Officials at the St. Thomas Mount Panchayat Union (Mount Block) conceded that attempts were not made so long to build libraries. However, under government-assisted programmes like Anaithu Grama Anna Marumalarchi Thittam, they were hopeful that every rural local body would have a public library.

In all, in the southern suburbs of Chennai, there were 60 branch libraries. While nearly all of them had regular staff, a few of them were under the supervision of temporary staff, who were paid Rs. 160 a day. Constructing branch libraries in all localities and appointing permanent staff would go a long way in encouraging reading habit among the young, especially school students, said a regular visitor to the branch library in Perungalathur.

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