Books

In this age of Kindle and the Internet, a look at four libraries in Bengaluru

Passion is the driving force for the individuals who run them

Caro Library, Cooke Town

It was in September last year that Oscar D’Souza and his friend Rakshith Rao had the idea of starting a library. Rakshith, it turns out, had 2,000 books stored in a friend’s house that needed to be moved elsewhere. And Oscar had the space to store those books: the family home which was unoccupied.

Set up as a community space, Caro Library (named after Oscar’s sister who passed away) is located opposite a school.

At present, the library has about 6,000 books ranging from management tomes and Indian authors to thrillers and fiction. There are about 2,000 children’s books, starting with picture books for three-year-olds.

Oscar, who runs a tech company in Indiranagar, heads to the library after work and is on hand to give recommendations. At present, the library is open only on Tuesdays and Fridays in the evenings and morning and evening on Saturdays. “The plan is to keep it open more days of the week. People from the Cooke Town community have shown interest in volunteering,” he says.

Caro Library also offers various classes and activities from cooking and decoupage to knitting and crochet. There is even a Grandma’s Boot Camp where children learn “olden day arts and crafts” and learn to make something from Grandma’s recipe book.

Says Oscar with a smile, “This is a passion project. It isn’t something I would get my daily bread from.”

84/1, 1st Floor, Hutchins Road, Cooke Town. Call 9886510348.

Gupta Circulating Library, Malleswaram

GRJ Gupta has seen the landscape of Bengaluru change from his post on the busy Sampige Road. Having moved to the city from Chennai for a fresh start, his father started a shop that sold groceries and odds and ends in 1952. In that space, a library started as well. As a young boy of 10, he and his brother (older by two years) helped out their father distribute all the major newspapers across the city.

With time and increased labour costs, the operations at the library came down. Gesturing, Gupta says, the shop and library occupied a much bigger space than the present one room. Readership too has come down, he says. He has a big, thick book sitting on his table, filled to the end with names of members. “About 2000 members but hardly anyone comes now.”

He says with a smile, “I have served four generations of the same family. It is passion and it is business too. I meet all kinds of people and I get refreshed.”

30 and 31, Sampige Road, Malleswaram. The library is open from 10 am to 2.30 pm and from 6 pm to 9.30 pm. Sunday is a holiday. Call 23566459.

Nool Library, CV Raman Nagar

Nool, as it happens, means collection of books in Tamil. This is something that comes to light when talking to Anitha Annamalai, founder of Nool Library. Formerly employed at Infosys, Anitha was always interested in libraries, having visited them from childhood. It was in 2013 that Anitha started the library with initial help from her husband, Moorthy Subramanian. “We are all avid readers in my family. My husband even had a small library in his house,” she says. At present, she runs a software company and all the requirements of the library are handled by the company.

Located on the first floor, the area is quite spacious. Enough to stock 35,000 books: everything from study and management books to books by Erle Stanley Gardeners and Agatha Christie. There is also a wide variety of regional language books and magazines as well as books for children.

Nool Library provides an additional service: home delivery within a 20-kilometre radius. The library offers different subscription plans and does not charge a late fee. Anitha says, “You need to be flexible to make it sustainable.”

No 8, First Floor, First Cross, Kaggadasapura, CV Raman Nagar. The library is open from 9 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 8.30 pm. Tuesday is a holiday. Visit nool.in or call 8951517171.

In this age of Kindle and the Internet, a look at four libraries in Bengaluru

Gurudutt Enterprises Circulating Library, Jayanagar

CS Chandrashekar is a people person. Members keep trickling in at Gurudutt Enterprises Circulating Library (named after his son, not the legendary director) and he makes sure to have a few minutes’ chat with each of them: recommending a book or mentioning the interview in progress. In fact, our roles get flipped as he proceeds to ask me various questions such as where I stay and why I wanted to become a journalist. “I have an interest in movies, music, books and people and the library has given me all that. I don’t know how to thank my library. I have been so fortunate to meet so many people,” he says.

It was after a remark by a friend that Chandrashekar decided to start the library in 1976 to supplement his income. Then employed at BEL, his day would begin at 4.30 am and he would go to the library in the evenings. His wife, Susheela, is the one who would take care of the library while he was at work. “Her contribution is unbelievable,” says Chandrashekar.

When it started, the library only had 170 books. Now, it carries a collection of Kannada works by Jnanpith award winners, Tamil magazines and books in English ranging from those by John Grisham and Lee Child to inspirational/self-help books.

The small one-room library mainly caters to residents of the area. “Earlier, people used to come from places like Peenya too,” says Chandrashekar. “Readership has come down. Today we talked uninterrupted for 20 minutes. That wouldn’t have been possible earlier.”

No 1500/3, 26th Main Road, Jayanagar. The library is open from 5.30 pm to 9 pm. Sunday is a holiday. Call 9900990780.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 4:14:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/in-this-age-of-kindle-and-the-internet-a-look-at-four-libraries-in-bengaluru/article30077273.ece

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