Chennai

How to support your local libraries in Chennai

Koogai Thiraipada Iyakkam, Valsaravakkam

For readers interested in cinema, this is a treasure trove. Started by filmmaker Pa Ranjith and designed by his wife Anitha, the small library invites film makers for events following strict COVID-19 protocols. Shelves are stacked with books donated by filmmakers, with sections on Marxism, Periyar and Ambedkar. There is also a rare collection of screenplays including Veedu, Sethu, Paruthiveeran and Salaam Bombay!

Poet-writer Murugan Manthiram says footfall has been steady since restrictions were lifted, “We have a stream of aspiring assistant directors. Twenty to 25 readers join us regularly to discuss short stories, and the same goes for film discussions usually held on Friday and Saturday.”

Subscription: The library has no subscription fee, but invites members of the film industry to contribute resources.

Timings: 10 am to 8 pm, everyday.

Contact: Murugan Manthiram at 9841869379

Madras Literary Society, Nungambakkam

Since 1906, this library has stood in the tranquil premises that house the Directorate of Public Instruction in Nungambakkam. Books are stacked from floor to ceiling on 60-foot-high shelves, with over 60,000 tomes, periodicals and classics, from Aristotle’s Opera Omnia to Newton’s Principia Mathematica. There are also rare books on Tamil grammar, surveys of the Buckingham Canal Project and maps of the Ganga.

How to support your local libraries in Chennai

How to support your local libraries in Chennai

All events in this inclusive space have sign language interpreters. There is a foldable ramp and a Braille guide.

If you visit MLS, be sure to say hello to the cheerful librarian Uma Maheshwari, and Lakshmi Martha, the oldest staff member, serving the library for over four decades.

Says Uma, “Over the past two years we have not sourced many new collections and are looking for donations of new books in fiction, philosophy, art, science and history, released since early 2020.”

You can also contribute by adopting books, helping restore the collections through binding and repair work (donations will be acknowledged in the book), or by volunteering to catalogue books and help organise events over the weekend.

Subscription: For an annual fee of ₹1,100, patrons can access all parts of the building, attend events and borrow four books at a time.

Timings: 10 am to 4.30 pm, closed on Sundays.

Contact: madrasliterarysociety@gmail.com

DakshinaChitra Museum Library, Muthukadu

The reference library at the living history museum houses 17,000 books on Art, Culture, Dance, Music, Crafts, Architecture, and the local environment, in addition to over 100 journals. Researchers and students can also find a collection belonging to the National Folklore Support Centre and over a hundred thousand photographs complemented by a vast collection of DVDs, CDs and tapes.

How to support your local libraries in Chennai

Sharath Nambiar, director at DakshinaChitra says, “Some of our prized possessions are old journals such as Marg, India Magazine, Lalit Kala, and Sangeet Natak. To continue the work we started, especially post-pandemic, we request donations to maintain our library/museum and augment it. We are also looking for donations of books pertaining primarily to art, craft and culture of South India.”

Subscription: All visitors are permitted free entry.

Timings: 10 am to 5 pm, closed on Tuesdays.

Contact: www.dakshinachitra.net

A crowd-sourced library map for Chennai
  • Nam Veedu, Nam Oor, Nam Kathai is putting together a library trail for readers, designed by architect Sunanda Vasudevan. Founder T Sevvel explains, “As the pandemic progressed, many libraries shut their doors, but the district libraries have always been open, with a wealth of resources. We also have new libraries opening up within residential complexes, so the idea is to get the public to participate in creating this evolving map.” Physical copies of the map are available on request, but there is work underway to add QR codes to locations, to provide information on each library.
  • Contact annanagarshg @gmail.com

Bookworms - Library on Wheels

Chennai-based S Gopi worked with Allied Publishers, Higginbothams and other prominent booksellers for over two decades, besides being an avid bibliophile himself. Along with his wife Krishnapriya (a librarian at PSBB School) he started Bookworms, a children’s library in KK Nagar, in 2001. Noticing that the children were always accompanied by an adult, Gopi decided to stock up on good adult fiction and nonfiction titles.

But more changes were in order. “Over time we noticed people moved away from KK Nagar, but wanted to be tied to our library in some way. So we decided to take the books to them instead,” Gopi explains.

He conceptualised the “Library on Wheels’’ programme in 2006. A TATA ACE Van was retrofitted with shelves to accommodate around 3,000 books; the vehicle allows members to get in and stand comfortably, as they browse.

How to support your local libraries in Chennai

While the pandemic put the brakes on the mobile library for a year, the van now criss-crosses the city. All you need to do is set up an appointment. Its corporate reading project allows companies to register, and the Library on Wheels visits staff members at their doorsteps. A few companies like L&T, Redington India and Navin Housing & Properties, avail of these services. The library is now hoping to reopen its #Stories Cafe soon.

Besides this, the library also reaches out to students who have been learning from home for over a year. “Some members evinced interest in borrowing books for a longer time period than a lending library allows, so we launched the ‘Home Library program’ in 2020,” Gopi explains.

Readers in Chennai can sign up for a membership plan that ranges from Superbookworm (borrow 120 books in five visits for ₹4999), Happybookworm (60 books in three visits for ₹2999) or LightBookworm (30 books in 2 visits for ₹1999). Readers choose from a catalogue of over 35,000 books across genres in English and Tamil. A complimentary personalised shelf is also provided, with a registration fee of ₹300.

Subscription: Registration fees vary, starting at ₹50 with a ₹300 refundable deposit. For ₹400 a month, you can borrow 10 books for 30 days.

Timing: On demand

Contact: S Gopi at 9841028327.


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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 5:14:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/how-to-support-your-local-libraries-in-chennai/article37087816.ece

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