Serving readers for 125 years

The old building of Nagarkar Library in Hubballi, which is all set to celebrate its 125th  anniversary this month.

The old building of Nagarkar Library in Hubballi, which is all set to celebrate its 125th anniversary this month. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

During colonial times, when Hubballi was emerging as a centre of trade, art, music and literature, a group of visionary young members of Citrapur Saraswat community chose to settle down in the city around 1873. Their coming together in Hubballi was the starting point of an institution, which has now completed 125 years of its establishment.

In 1897, Raghavendra Subbarao Nagarkar, a ‘Mamlatdar’ at Saundatti in Belagavi district then, passed away leaving behind a good collection of Theosophical books. His cousin Manjunathrao Ullal, who got them as legacy, donated the same to this group leading to the birth of ‘Nagarkar Library’.

Over the years members of the community kept donating books adding to the collection and the institution, not restricting itself, emerged as a cultural centre providing space for art forms, music as well as sports. What initially started as a forum of Chitrapur Saraswats widened its scope later embracing everyone with interests in art, literature, music and sports.

Despite several ups and downs, the ‘Nagarkar Library’ has stood the test of times and is set to celebrate its 125 th anniversary thanks to the service of several families.

New building

In 1980s, a ‘give and take’ arrangement with Central Bank of India helped the institution in getting new building. Subsequently, as honorary secretary for over three decades, Subhash Madiman, helped the Library to expand. Now along library with 6,000 books, there is a small hall for music programmes, space for games.

Rare collection

The Nagarkar Libary has a collection of some rare books including first prints of various works, those printed at London some dating back to 1860s. Not just classics, it also has books that help students prepare for competitive examinations.

“The library opened up new world before us. Such was the collection that sometimes we had to wait for our turn to read at Nagarkar Library,” recalls Mahendra Chauhan, a journalist.

With advent of technology, there is a reduced footfall at the library now, but that has not taken away the zeal of the new team.

“As we have other resources, we just charge ₹ 50 per month. We want the children to visit and get acquainted with the joy of reading,” Mr. Vijay Bijur and Vikram Sirur, who are part of the team taking care of the library, told The Hindu.

A three-day programme of music, puppetry will mark the 125th anniversary of the Library starting from May 27.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 7:51:20 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/serving-readers-for-125-years/article65457971.ece