Even former residents of Pazhavanthangal keep returning to the neighbourhood for this modest-looking library, writesASHA SRIDHAR

Inside a quaint old house in Pazhavanthangal hangs the smell of books, and tall racks supported with stools hold a raft of laminated classics, bestsellers and school essay books.

Much before the age of online book shops, many in the neighbourhood relied on Renga Lending Library (RLL) for their first rented copy of an Enid Blyton, Harry Potter or Ponniyan Selvan. Started in1990 with the personal collection of the (late) R. Perumalswamy in a modest little room, RLL today has members coming from as far as Chrompet, Medavakkam, and Tambaram, says P. Aravind who manages the library with his wife Tarakeswari.

“When my father retired, he decided to set up a neighbourhood library with his collection. We had carried it on considering the patronage it receives and also our love for books,” he says.  “Old members who lived here earlier and shifted to other neighbourhoods continue to come,” says Mr. Aravind

The library, which according to Ms. Tarakeswari has around 60,000 books in English and Tamil and close to 5,000 active members, moved two places from its original premises in a lane adjoining College Road before settling in Gandhi Salai near the subway.

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