Bengaluru’s state-run libraries in a bad shape

City Governance Lifestyle Tech

Major issues are poor infra, lack of updated books

Shivani Priyam

State-run central libraries in Bengaluru suffer due to delays in payments by urban local bodies and block development authorities.

The Vijayanagar Central Library is a huge repository of books ranging from classics to science, but its disorderly arrangement of newspapers creates problems for visitors.

Bharath M.B., a BTech student from the Don Bosco Institute of Technology, informed The Observer: “I visit the Vijayanagar library as it is located close to my place. I am searching for reference books to study for competitive exams. But most of the times, I find the seats already occupied. Lack of space forces me to occupy a seat between the racks. The dim light hampers my eyes, but I’ve to study. So I don’t really bother now.”

Gururaj, an audit officer with the social welfare department has a different view. “I find the place quite comfortable and peaceful. I manage to take some time out from work in the evening to read newspapers in the reading area.”

The City Central Library in Bangalore South is a fairly large one, housing over 50,000 books and a newspaper reading section on the first floor. But the books are in a deplorable state. Most of them, especially law books, are old and torn, with no proper binding. The covers are covered with dust. The administration does not seem to have organized the properly books after binding.

The library has a separate reading area reserved only for women, but both men and women can be seen seated in the space.

Maithili, a PG student, informed The Observer: “The signboard carries the label ‘For Ladies Only’ but people don’t bother. Everyone seems to occupy the space available and sit randomly.”

Nanduni S, a BE student, said: “I am preparing for UPSC exams. Though the library fulfils my requirement of reference books, there is the issue of women’s restroom. It is not clean. Sometimes the library space is full. So there are problems of seating for students.”

The public library in Siddanna Layout, Banashankari Stage II, is grappling with lack of availability of updated books, popular books on Kannada and Tamil literature and drinking water. Sometimes, the seats are reserved by people in advance which creates problems for new visitors, even though students may not be using them.

The library has no Internet and computer facilities for visitors.

Vinayak Gaonkar, a BE student from VTU, Belagavi, who is preparing for the Civil Services exam, said: “I have been visiting the library for the past one and a half years and I find people reserving seats by keeping their books in advance. The library lacks essential books in Kannada literature, including great works of authors like Kuvempu. Moreover, I find editions belonging to the year 2008 are not relevant when it comes to Civil Services. We look for revised editions.

“The library’s management system is faulty as it comes under the jurisdiction of the Block Development Authority, which is not paying rent. It is a classic case where two departments of the state government are in tussle with each other over funds.”

Yadhu Kumar, a BCom student, shared: “There is no drinking water in the library. First-year chartered accountancy books are not available too. I find it extremely difficult to prepare during exams when I need reference books for CA.”

The City Central Library also faces the problems of data backup in computers and their limited availability. Visitors complain of only four computers available with poor or no Internet connectivity.

Bhasavaraj Talwar, an accountant who manages administrative matters at the department of public libraries, said: “There is a separate administrative department handling solely the funding and maintenance of libraries. The departments handle the funding, allocation, etc for libraries each year.”

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