VS visits British Library

Staff Reporter

Government willing to do the necessary to keep the library in the city

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan today said the British Council’s “all on a sudden” decision to close down its library here was shocking and has caused much public concern.

Interacting with journalists after visiting the British Library, he said the institution was highly beneficial to students, teachers and aspirants for civil service jobs.

A large number of citizens were British Library members and most of them felt a personal attachment to the institution.

The Chief Minister said he hoped the British Council will reverse its decision to close down the library in the interests of the people of Kerala.

To meet officials

Mr. Achuthanandan said he would meet British Council officials from Chennai, hopefully on December 18. The government is willing to make whatever contribution is necessary from its part to ensure that the library continues to function in the city.

Mr. Achuthanadan arrived at the library around 4.10 p.m. Librarian T.K. Subramony received the Chief Minister and showed him around the library hall. Later, Mr. Achuthanandan held a closed-door meeting with Mr. Subramony inside the librarian’s cabin. Mayor C. Jayan Babu was present at the meeting.

The Chief Minister told press persons later that Mr. Subramony had echoed the official position of the British Council. Quoting Mr. Subramony, the Chief Minister said the British Council had decided to close the library after many deliberations.

The British Council official who announced the closure of the library had met Education Minister M.A. Baby. The Chief Minister said he could not meet the official the same day because he was out of town on government business.

A troop of press photographers, television camera crew and reports accompanied the Chief Minister. They requested the Chief Minister to pose with a book in front of one of the shelves in the library’s “for reference only” section.

Changing work

In a press release issued on December 6, 2007, the Council had informed that it was changing the nature of its work in Thiruvananthapuram. It said that it was closing down the British Library, which it runs in partnership with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, because a significant investment on the premises or probably a move to new premises would be required. The closure does not signal the end of a relationship. The public will be able to access British Council services, particularly with regard to education and examinations.

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