All eyes are trained on the upcoming state-of-art six-storey Muthamil Arignar Kalaignar Memorial Library on New Natham Road which is nearing completion.
Spread over 2.73 lakh acres, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin laid the foundation stone last year. The project is 98% complete and is expected to be opened in a couple of months, according to officials.
K. P. Sathyamurthy, Chief Engineer, Public Works Department, Madurai Region was conferred an award by Governor R.N. Ravi in August, 2022 for completing the structure of the library building in 98 days and not compromising on the quality.
Speaking to The Hindu, he said that installation of fire-fighting system, AC duct, plumbing, wall panelling and laying of tiles, electrical fittings are completed. “The total cost of the project is ₹114 crore, including ₹99 crore for building, ₹10 crore for books and ₹5 crore for computers,” he added.
An additional fund of ₹16.4 crore has been sanctioned to procure furniture. For which, tender has been finalised and work order has been issued a week ago, said officials.
The fully air conditioned library also offers free Wi-Fi a roof garden on the third floor for a relaxing read, a 506-seater auditorium, a section comprising over 14,000 rare books on the sixth floor, section of scientific equipment procured at a total cost of ₹50 lakh would help children learn.
A cafeteria at a cost of ₹28 lakh would be set up in 15 days as well while the parking facility can accommodate over 50 cars and 200 two-wheelers in the basement.
The building is differently abled-friendly and has a dedicated section on the ground floor, two lifts, and toilets designed for them at each floor. Apart from the toilets for men and women, a separate toilet for transpersons is also included. As for the visually challenged, the tactile tiled floor would help them easily navigate the building.
Attracting children, a designated section for them on the first floor aims to stack up around 20,000 books. “Children between the ages of four and twelve would love it. The kid’s theatre with interactive floor and colourful walls with digital aspects are among the many highlights,” said Mr. Sathyamoorthy.
“The library has been designed aesthetically to attract crowds. An art gallery for the visitors to get a whiff of Tamil culture and an atrium spread across 3,000 sq feet would be among other highlights,” he noted.
For those wanting to read in peace, a ‘read-your-own’ section on two floors has been allocated as well.
As a tribute to the former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, a statue of him is to be installed on the premises and a separate section would comprise his works of over 5,000 books.
Speaking about books, K. Elambahavath, Director, Public Libraries said that a four-level committee will choose and procure books on various subjects.
“At least three experts have been appointed for each subject who will be selected, which will be filtered and further recommended by another committee. The procurement and negotiation committee would push the last list and the high-level committee would monitor the entire process,” he said.
He added that 1.4 lakh books have been recommended and is in the process of procurement while the library is aimed at stacking up around 4.5 lakh books in total. References books, journals and publications from leading international and national universities would also be a part of the collection, he said.