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It's a treasure of books

Mangalore finally gets a hi-tech public library



BIBLIOPHILE'S PARADISE The library, run by the Corporation Bank, has over 4,000 books

Think of a public library, and what probably comes to mind are images of torn newspapers, missing pages of books, dust-covered tables and chairs, a half fallen board outside and the not so co-operative staff.

But this perception will surely change once you visit the hi-tech Centenary Public Library of the Corporation Bank at Mannagudda (near Mangala Stadium). At last, here's every Mangalorean bibliophile's paradise, complete with a corporate look and maintenance.

A hub of several educational institutions, industries and banks, the Port City now has another feather in its cap with the library built and managed by the Corporation Bank. And it will become fully operational from Saturday, April 1. At present, the newspapers and periodicals' section has been opened up to the public and one needn't be a member of the library to use this facility. The reference section, books and compact discs (CD) lending section, Internet browsing section and the video conferencing facility will be open for regular use by members from April 1.

The library has a collection of 4,000 books and 400 CDs. The books cover varied subjects in Kannada, Hindi and English from literature, management, banking, IT, religion, fiction to children-oriented subjects.

Besides, there are over 2,000 full text e-journals and e-books. In time, the collection will be expanded further, says A. Mohan Rao, General Manager of the bank.

At the Internet section, a member can browse for a minimum of half an hour for no charge at all. And if no one's waiting by your shoulder to take your place, you could browse for hours for free. With 20 available for use and only nominal charges levied only on printouts and photocopies, this section is ideal for those without the Net at home.

The lending and retrieval operations have been fully computerised and renewal of books can be done over telephone, by e-mail or through fax. Moreover, a ramp facility has been provided for the use of physically-challenged persons, says K. Rama Murthy, Deputy General Manager, HRD and Training division of the bank. The library also has 15 hidden cameras for surveillance.

And if you're looking to keep the children occupied while you are seriously engaged in searching for a book or referring to a particular subject, the library has the answer. To take care of their needs, children's books and CDs are catalogued in a separate room, where a television and CD player have been provided. The building has a multi-purpose hall and a numismatic museum too.

The library remains open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a break from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. It is closed on Wednesdays. The membership fee is Rs. 600 for adults and Rs. 300 for students per annum. Call 2450846 for details.

RAVIPRASAD KAMILA

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