Chennai: One of the key laws of a library that a ‘library should be a growing organism’ - as said by the father of library sciences S.R. Ranganathan - seems to fall short when it comes to Anna Centenary library, if one were to go by its readers, employees and a court case that is awaiting a final verdict.
S. John, B.Com graduate and a Tamil Nadu public service commission (TNPSC) aspirant, was a regular reader at the competitive examination section of Anna Centenary library for the last seven months. However, he feels that he was not able to find a single new edition, and has to buy books online for his exam preparations.
“Every time I enter this section for my TNPSC preparations, I find most of the books are the ones that have been there for a year or so. We come here only to read the latest publications on government competitive exams, be it any subject,” he said, and added that most of his fellow readers have the same complaint, for past few years.
This phenomenon is not just confined to the competitive section on the ground floor – this has been so for the past five years, right from the inception of the library on September 15, 2010, the birthday of late CM C.N. Annadurai.
One of the biggest libraries in Asia that is situated on a sprawling 8-acre land in Kotturpuram, the library had initially opened up with five lakh books. Since then, the book repository is under pressure as there is a court case awaiting a final verdict and no new books are added to its shelves.
In 2011, the newly elected state government filed a petition in the HC to convert it into a multi-speciality paediatric hospital. Subsequently, advocate R. Prabhakaran filed a writ petition questioning this move and declare it as a national library.
Readers and employees complain that toilets and washbasins in some sections leave a lot to be desired. Maintenance work has been progressing at a very slow pace as on the B side of the library all washrooms are closed for the past two years and on the top floor, glass panes are broken, said an employee.
Due to all these problems, there has been a dip in the number of readers since 2010. In 2011, there were 1,500 visitors during the weekdays and 2,000 in the weekends, for the last two years, the number has come down to 1,000 in weekdays and 1,500 to 1,600 during the weekends.