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Empty shelves stare at book lovers in library

Rajesh Hiremath
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City Central Library in Hubli lacks books even after government takeover

A LIFELESS SHELF: Empty book shelves at the City Central Library in Hubli.
A LIFELESS SHELF: Empty book shelves at the City Central Library in Hubli.

Empty book shelves greet the visitors as they enter the first floor of the City Central Library located next to the landmark Lamington High School in Hubli.

The hi-tech library as it was called, after the Department of Public Libraries took over it and spent Rs. 6.26 crore for its renovation, seems to be going through a rough phase again. The old City Central Library, which once catered to the needs of the reading public, lost its attraction after Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation stopped funds flow citing financial constraints. Subsequently, when Basavaraj Horatti was Minister for Primary and Secondary Education and Public Libraries, he took the initiative of taking over the library from the corporation. His plan materialised with the Municipal Corporation agreeing to sell the building which housed the library to the department of libraries for Rs. 4.44 crore. The Department of Public Libraries then spent Rs. 1.82 crore on renovation of the building and improving the infrastructure.

Now three years after its formal inauguration, the library was going through the same phase. It did not have funds to purchase books. The digital library, which was supposed to be launched within six months, is yet to take off even after three years.

Empty shelves

The irony is that it has the infrastructure but not adequate books, which infuse life into the library. The library has book shelves for every category of books but many of them were empty. For example, book shelves meant for History, Medicine, Journalism, Engineering and Chemistry had hardly any books. The situation was slightly different in the competitive examination section. While some book shelves were empty, the others had books that were considered outdated from the competitive examinations point of view.

Librarian B.D. Hoggar told The Hindu that it would take at least three more years to get all the required .

Mr. Hoggar said there was a need for strict rules to ensure that those who hired books from the library returned it within the stipulated time.

Deputy Director of Public Central Libraries S.T. Ingle admitted that there was shortage of funds for libraries and the issue had been already brought to the notice of the higher authorities. He said and a proposal for a fund of Rs. 40 lakh for Central Library was pending before the government and once that was sanctioned, the library would have the required books.

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