Image Credit: Anjana Kurien
Author: Anjana Kurien
In a large city like Bangalore, where commuting to a centrally located library can be a pain, a lending library chain was an idea that was waiting to happen. It is this white space that is filled by the Just Books lending library chain.
The Just Books lending library chain is incubated by the N.S.Raghavan Centre for Excellence; the entrepreneur incubation and support wing of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. They have grown to an internet presence and 20 outlets across Bangalore and is slowly spreading to other cities like Madras, Trivandrum etc. The U.S.P. offered is the central collection of books that can be exchanged across the different outlets, offering the reader a wider choice than that can be contained in a small lending library.
My exposure to the Just Books chain came from the wing of the library in the clubhouse of my residential layout. The place is a veritable pulp fiction mecca, aimed at the teenage kids, home makers and elderly in the layout; with a smattering of more serious books, including business ,popular sciences, self-help, biographies etc. and magazines. And you always have the option of browsing and ordering from the central collection on an online portal offered by the chain. My younger son utilizes it for the Wimpy kid series and the all the current youth fiction which is a far cry from the Roald Dahls and Enid Blytons of my era.
So it was rather sad for me when I heard from the layout manager that the resident’s association is seriously thinking of closing down the facility. On further inquiry, I learned that the cost to the association is Rs.10,000/- a month ; and that left me flabbergasted. In a layout consisting of 100 odd villas, the cost comes to only Rs 100/- per house; whereas every house pays a monthly maintenance charge of 6000 upward (depending on the size of the villa). From that amount, if the association can maintain a kid’s park, football court, basketball court, tennis court, cricket pitch, squash court, gym, swimming pool and even a dog’s play area , why not spent 100 rupee a month on a library as well? Lack of proper utilization was the answer, I received! Now that made me even more confused.
All the residents in the layout are urban professionals – not necessarily young though, to earn the yuppie title :-). If their kids don’t read, then who reads !! Indeed a sad state of affairs !