national library week | History & Culture

The changing face of Visakhapatnam libraries

Visakhapatnam Public Library

A splodge of greens greets the eye as you enter the Visakhapatnam Public Library through the narrow lanes of Dwarkanagar. In its renovated avatar, the library is a refreshing example of the changing space and role of libraries in India.

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From a dedicated space for book lovers, the Visakhapatnam Public Library today endeavours to create an ecosystem that fosters an active exchange of ideas, support the career aspirations of young minds and create a community for senior citizens. The colourful walls, well-lit corridors, and spacious rooms with newly-designed seating give it a contemporary look. Set up in the year 2003, it underwent a complete transformation in the past two years.

The changing face of Visakhapatnam libraries

“Today, the role of libraries has become more pertinent in pushing the young minds to think, innovate and be active citizens of society. Our aim is to create a space which will be a converging point of bright young minds and give them the proper eco-system to support their dreams,” says DS Varma, secretary of the library.

The space hosts a guest lecture every month with imminent personalities and achievers. It conducts various programmes for career aspirants such as monthly quizzes. Presently, it is in the process of creating a space for children on the theme of Nature, and is also refurbishing the periodicals for senior citizens and remodelling the cellar and garden area for better space utilisation.

They will also be adding 10,000 books to its present collection of 60,000 titles in a month’s time.

The library is located in Dwarkanagar and has about 47,000 members. To enrol as a member, contact 8912759212.

BookMagic

The changing face of Visakhapatnam libraries

If the pandemic set forth its own challenges, it also gave an opportunity to innovate and explore newer ways of engaging with the public for BookMagic, the youngest library in town.

“Libraries thrive on footfall and after the pandemic’s second wave, this was our first challenge — to bring people back to our library,” says Hari Mandala, who took over BookMagic Library (erstwhile Just Books Library) in 2015. The first issue he faced was to deal with a generation that was now increasingly addicted to gadgets, thanks to the onslaught of online classes during the pandemic-induced lockdowns.

The changing face of Visakhapatnam libraries

“We realised that simply being a space that rents books would no longer work for us. We had to up our outreach programmes to engage better with youngsters,” says Hari. Over the past one month, it has opened up its space for children’s workshops and storytelling in its efforts to get young readers back to the library. “Our plan is to move beyond workshops and create a community where people can enjoy art and literature and connect on ways to tackle challenges induced by the pandemic,” he adds.

BookMagic plans to host talks by psychologists and educators on issues like impact of the pandemic on children, provide a platform for book launches of local writers and have a Wall of Art wherein local artists can bring in their creativity. With a collection of 8,000 books in 15 genres, BookMagic is in the process of revamping its website to make it more user-friendly and interactive. “Our ultimate idea is to bring people back to reading books through creative ways of engagement,” adds Hari.

The library is located in Lawsons Bay Colony and has about 300 active members. For more details, contact 970358440.

Book Mark

The changing face of Visakhapatnam libraries

From a shift of location to expanding its book collection and activities for children, Book Mark library saw some of the biggest changes during the pandemic in its 11 years of existence. Rashmie Soni, owner of the library, feels that the space today has blossomed into a creative outlet for all age groups. From conducting vocabulary-building and art and craft classes to teaching life skills to children, Rashmie has turned the library into a space that helps children engage with their peers.

“The pandemic has been especially tough on children. I want to concentrate on engaging with children in ways that not only bring them closer to the world of books but also make them empathetic human beings through activities like gardening, storytelling and personality building. Today, we need to focus on the emotional quotient of a child as much as we do to enhance their intelligence quotient,” says Rashmie.

The changing face of Visakhapatnam libraries

The library that is located near the beach road at Pandurangapuram is a space where children in the age group of four to 14 spend time listening wide-eyed to their favourite teacher. Classes on personality development are held every week, wherein children learn how to express themselves better by writing book reviews, short stories, essays and comprehension. The library has a separate reading room for readers of all age groups. The classes for children, Rashmie says, have been the turning point of the library which is seen as a space that fosters reading habit through a variety of activities.

Located in Pandurangapuram, Book Mark has about 100 active members. For more details, contact 8919687937.


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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 6:12:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/the-changing-face-of-visakhapatnam-libraries/article37580167.ece

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