Image Credit: Artist’s vision, Inhabitat
Author Mala Sundar
On my recent vacation in India, my sister insisted I visit a museum in Madras (aka Chennai) called “Anna Centenary Library”.
She said that a book worm like me cannot afford to miss this sight.
She was right. It is magnificent.
You enter the building feeling as if you are entering the Roman Colosseum.
Except when you enter, the first sight is this larger-than-life sized lamp, a prominent feature in many a South Indian palace and temple (and on a much smaller scale, in the some homes).
There are seven floors to the library. The first floor (or as they say in British English, the “ground floor”) has a Braille section. The next level has a large room exclusively for students to read, write, or study. The successive floors are each dedicated to specific areas or concentrations.
The children’s section reminded me of the one in Barnes & Noble in Marketfair mall, New Jersey (now relocated) but this one is built in a grandiose scale. A large “learning tree” welcomes the readers. The walls are brightly decorated with, among others, murals of scenes or characters from the Jungle Book.
I also went to the Literature floor (fourth one, I think). Lovely collection. I could spend the whole day just reading book after book. There was one floor for just books written in Tamil. I did not go in since my Tamil is awful! Since I was visiting, I could not find any flaws. However, I understand that the library does not allow books to be borrowed. If I lived there, it would be somewhat of a put-off since to me, a purely reference library is less personal and more clinical, a purely subjective emotion on my part, I am sure!