KARNATAKA

British Library to shift to new premises by December 5

Bangalore Nov. 9. It will be a break with the past for those who love to browse books and then adjourn to Koshy's next door for a coffee or beer with friends.

The British Library, now on St. Mark's Road, will have completed moving to its new premises, just off Kasturba Road, near the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, by December 5. The move will be so well organised and fast that there will be little inconvenience caused to the library's 7,500 members and those dropping in to look at reference books and journals.

The library will occupy the ground floor of "Embassy Takt" where there will be more room to house the extensive collection of books, CD-ROMs, and reference material.

An additional facility will be conference rooms for professionals and scholars.

Among the reasons for the library having to shift is inadequate space and structural defects in the present premises. Being a relatively old building, there were cracks in the ceiling and on the walls and seepage of water during the rainy season, posing a threat to the collection of books.

Parking space comes at a premium on St. Mark's Road with several commercial buildings and restaurants close by.

The new premises, located on the ground floor, will make the library more accessible to the physically challenged and the elderly. At present, they have to cope with a steep staircase to reach the library on the first floor.

With the shift, the British Library's much awaited India Section will take final shape. This will be an extensive collection of books on all subjects related to India and the subcontinent and books by Indian authors. The spacious new premises will also help the British Library organise more cultural and literary events like visits by well-known authors coming to India. The children's section will also be enlarged.

Over the decades, the British Library on St. Mark's Road has become a landmark and been a meeting place for students, officials, and professionals. Many senior bureaucrats, members of the judiciary, and academics are among the library's members.

Besides its collection of 25,000 books ranging from fiction to science, the library receives mainstream British newspapers and journals, apart from technical journals. It has a separate section to provide information to students interested in going to the U.K. for higher studies. Business travellers can also get valuable information here.

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