Downtown

Exclusive library for women functions at Bells Road school

Nearly 475 members are enrolled at the library and an average of 10 people visit every day. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

Nearly 475 members are enrolled at the library and an average of 10 people visit every day. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan   | Photo Credit: K_V_Srinivasan

Pengal Noolagam has a collection of 30,000 books. It offers periodicals too.

There is nothing impressive about this Chennai Middle School at Bells Road, Chepauk. Except for a huge collection of books. A small library for women — called ‘Pengal Noolagam' — functions there. Those visiting the library don’t seem to mind the cramped space. One of them is N. Sudha, a resident of MJB Street, Triplicane, who has been visiting the library for the last eight years.

“I am more relaxed sitting in a room with only women around me. You don’t face the problem of men staring at you,” says the homemaker, who visits the library twice a month, taking home three books to read each time.

Sudha has read most of the novels and books of short stories found in the library. She’s now reading the devotional books there.

“They have a good number of cookbooks too,” she says, placing the books she has selected before C. Sagaya Mary, a staff.

The library has a collection of nearly 30,000 books, which include children’s books.

Pillaigal Padikum Kadai, Nagai Chuvai Oottum Nalla and Sadhanai Padaitha Cricket Veeraragal are among its ‘offerings’ for kids.

It also has periodicals (in Tamil and English).

Nearly 475 members are enrolled in the library. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Students of class VI, VII and VIII are supplied books from the library, but I wish they kept adding to their collection more child-friendly books to get more children interested in reading,” says a teacher.

The concept of an exclusive library for women was initiated many years ago. “We have another such ladies library in Pudupet. The idea is to encourage women to read after dropping their children at school or after completing household chores. Unlike regular libraries, which close in the afternoon, they are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ,” says S. Elango Chandra Kumar, District Library Officer.

Can the city have more such libraries?

He says, “A request has to come from residents for the department to consider opening ladies libraries.”

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:30:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/exclusive-library-for-women-functions-at-bells-road-school/article6895373.ece

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