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Morning treat for book lovers served on wheel

Syed Muthahar Saqaf

From women to children to retirees, exchange or issue of collections in mobile library at doorstep shows day

. Photos: R.M.Rajarathinam

joy of reading:(Left)housewives browsing through the books at the mobile library at Sundararaj Nagar in the city on Saturday; a full view of the vehicle.


TIRUCHI: A van enters and goes round the Sundararaj Nagar in Highways Colony in the city blowing a distinct horn on Saturday at 8.30 a.m. It halts in front of the local temple. Soon a couple of cars reach the spot and also youth arrive on the scene in two-wheelers. Women with books walk towards the spot with eagerness writ large on their faces.

This group of men, women and students is quite indicative of the overwhelming response to the ‘mobile library' movement reaching out to the residents all over the district. The people, all mobile library members, gather at the venue to exchange their books.

The Department of Public Libraries has been running 129 libraries in the district. Apart from the District Central Library, 55 branch libraries, 63 village libraries, nine part time libraries and a mobile library have been rendering yeoman service for developing overall personality of the people, particularly the youths.

Though the branch libraries and village libraries across the district have been well patronised, it is the novel mobile library concept which has been widely welcomed by all sections of the society. A majority of the members of the mobile library are housewives and retired people as they find it easy to collect books of their choice at their doorstep.

The mobile library is a specially designed vehicle with shelves on all the three sides for the display of books. It has adequate space to enable the people to register their names, move around and select books of their choice.

The mobile library attached to the District Central Library visits various parts of city and its suburbs on six days in a week, except on Fridays, which is a holiday. A librarian, driver and cleaner are in charge of this vehicle. The rules and regulations designed for the branch libraries for the enrolment of members and patrons, lending books apply for this mobile library too.

The mobile library accounted for 20,000 Tamil books on various titles and over 3,000 men and women have enrolled themselves as members. A total of eight philanthropists are its patrons at present. The vehicle camps at 44 locations in and around the city – eight locations a day with a specific schedule of camp for each residential location. The members can keep the books with them for 14 days.

The areas situated far away from the branch libraries and village libraries with strong roots for library movement were identified for the camp of the mobile library, according to A. P. Sivakumar, District Library Officer. The vehicle halts at the designated spot in a particular locality for an hour. The members reach the vehicle to handover and collect books.

The success of the mobile library could be gauged from the fact that on an average over 250 books are lent when the vehicle halts at Vazhaiyoor school on Wednesdays. The response at the Kariamanikkam school is also overwhelming.

Over 140 men and women of Ganpathi nagar have enrolled themselves as members of the mobile library, followed by Dheeran nagar where over 100 residents have become members, Moolathoppu 90; Rayarthoppu 80; Sundararaj nagar 70; Bharathinagar 60; Sirugamani agraharam 45.

Mr. Sivakumar is happy that many men and women continue to be members for many years. J. Vanisiri, a housewife of Sundararaj Nagar is a member of this mobile library for the past nine years. G. R. Venugopalan, a former Highways Assistant Divisional Engineer and Balakrishnan, a retired physical education teacher, visit this library every week for the past seven years.

While Mr. Vanisiri pleads for more books on famous authors like Kalki, Parthasarathi; Akilan; Anuratha Ramanan, A. Govindarajan of Kavitha Fancy Stores, Subramaniapuram, a member for the last five years, want the authorities to display more books, in particular the works of famous poets.

According to Mr. Sivakumar, enrolment of membership is a very simple procedure. All that the people have to do is to pay Rs. 30 (caution deposit Rs. 20 and annual subscription Rs. 10) for getting one book, Rs. 50 (caution deposit Rs. 40, annual subscription Rs. 10) for getting two books and Rs. 60 (caution deposit Rs. 50 and annual subscription Rs. 10) for collecting three books.

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