It may sound hard to believe, but one cannot borrow books from the Karnataka State Central Library - a recipient of the prestigious Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation Award for being the best state central library in the country in 2000.
The library lacks a circulation section and the absence of this basic facility has deprived, and is depriving, thousands of readers an opportunity to take books home for reading.
The library, a book lover’s paradise, is housed in the Seshadri Iyer Memorial Building located at Cubbon Park in the city, and is poised to turn 100 in a few years. It has a collection of more than two lakh books, including rare volumes and periodicals. But there is hitch: the readers or visitors have to read the books at the library itself.
Many of them want to take books home and read during their leisure time, but the lack of a circulation facility is ruining the experience for many readers.
“I have been benefited a lot from this library. It would be of great help if the authorities make a provision to issue books for visitors,’’ said G Ramesh, an MBA student from Raichur, who is preparing for civil service examination.
According to KG Venkatesh, who retired recently as the director of public libraries, the library would be able to have a loyal readers or members if they can borrow books. “Circulation of books not only creates awareness among people about the library, but also helps readers to read books at their convenience,’’ said Venkatesh.
According to sources, the Karnataka State Central Library had the circulation section till 1985, but the facility was withdrawn for various reasons, with sources citing employees’ unwillingness to do “hard work” as the reason for withdrawing the facility.
“The lack of a catalogue facility is another hurdle for the library to attract more readers. With no catalogue facility, employees now just idle most of the time as readers have to help themselves. Attempts at computerisation is still stuck for reasons best known to the library employees,’’ said an employee on condition of anonymity.
While there is no space for keeping books donated by publishers and educationists, two rooms of the library have been occupied by Public Library Department Employees Cooperative Society.
“These two rooms can be utilised for the circulation section. The authorities can depute employees to look after the circulation section,’’ said Venkatesh.
Lack of parking facility is another problem. The horticulture department has deputed its employees to collect parking fee.
“We have to pay `10 for parking vehicles near the library. It will discourage students coming to the library,’’ complains Ramesh.