Anna Nagar Library in Chennai has IAS reading room

Ranganathan with civil service aspirants

Around a year back, when ‘News Today‘ contacted librarian Ranganathan, the chief of Anna Nagar Full Time Branch Library in N Block, he said he wished that the library gets the same number of footfalls as the Bougainvillea Park nearby.

He said, “Exercising your mind is as important as exercising your body and reading in a library helps you with that.”

Today, thanks to his enthusiasm in attracting new readers, especially youngsters, the numbers have steadily risen. According to the library register, at least 400 people on an average walk-in daily to make use of the premises now. This year alone, 184 new members have been inducted into the library taking the total membership count to 3,719.

However, inspite of this considerable achievement, the humble Ranganathan downplays his role in the development choses to shine light on the people who have worked in silence to develop the library.

The chief among them he says is Firm Fondation’s Chairperson C Kasturi Raj and District Library Officer, Elango Chandramohan.

“Without infrastructure and readers, a library will not be a hit. Kasturi Raj sir contributed around Rs 10 lakh last year to build an IAS reading room here, which enabled more students to come to the library and spend their time preparing for their UPSC exams. Similarly, DLO Elango sir’s vision to tie up with various organisations to conduct children’s programme and workshops in the library also attracted many young and active members,” said Ranganathan, who has been named after the Father of Library Science S R Ranganathan.

With Anna Nagar being the civil services capital of India, the library sees around 60 UPSC aspirants walking in daily to make use of the quite reading rooms and the collection of expensive and informative books to prepare for exams.

Ranganathan says that we can see around 20 students stay in the library for even close to 9 hours to prepare for the exams.

“Some of them enter when the library opens at 8 am and leave only at 7 pm or 8.30 pm. They have their lunch and dinner here to save time. As a librarian it is my duty to host them in comfort,” says Ranganathan.

Last week, DLO, Elango who was at the library to inaugurate the book fair as a part of National Library Week pledged to extend the IAS reading room so that more students can be benefitted.

Apart from this, Ranganathan has new plans to develop the library even further and take it to world-class standards.

He says, “The libraries once used to be reading centres and slowly they developed into a knowledge sharing centre. The next evolution would be the transformation of libraries into workshops. It is this transformation and the workshops conducted by MS Swaminathan Research Foundation and weekly children’s workshops that helped improve readership in the library.”

Ranganathan wishes that these workshops be held regularly in the future, Apart from this, he says, a CCTV camera system in the library would help up the security inside the premises.

He also requests the authorities concerned and benevolent readers to contribute to buying wooden chairs since the readership has increased considerably. You can reach Ranganathan at 98403 87715.

A Harsha Vardhan