Photo Credit: Google Images, shared by Sujai G Pillai
Author: Sujai G. Pillai
My passion for libraries started from the time I spent in my school and village libraries with my friend Tijay. I felt a sense of community and togetherness in our village library even though it had only few books. During festivals, (Onam and Xmas) we used to arrange cultural events and sports meets at the library.
It was during my college days that I encountered and was impressed by the Kollam Public Library ( a.k.a. The Quilon public library & research center) . It is nearly 30 KM away from my home, situated in the middle of Kollam town, near the railway station. The wood paneled interior, the hardwood staircase of teak and the antique furniture lend a majestic feel to the library – I felt like I was in a big palace. I loved the dusty smell of old books. Reading those books was like talking to some great ancestors who were happy to see me. I spent a lot of time in this favourite “museum” of mine, among the reference books and journals.
This Library has a huge collection of books but a majority of the readers utilize it for career search, orientation and development. So one would, at anytime, find lots of young people preparing for the civil service examinations ( such as Indian Administrative Service) , for bank tests and staff selection examinations.
Senior citizens too patronize the library and enjoy the communal spaces inside and outside. where people gather to read and discuss. A separate children’s wing attracts young readers.
Literary events for the public are held in the auditorium and in the smaller halls attached to the library. As a bow to digital times, the Kollam Library provides access to the internet via a single terminal for Rs. 15/ hour, and allows users to take print outs.
I don’t use the library any more, since I moved out of Kollam.