THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Lending libraries in the city, which were one of the favourite for haunts for the bookworms, cut a sorry figure nowadays.
The decline in reading population along with the opening of other avenues to gain knowledge have hit these libraries badly. Many of them have closed shop while some others are on the verge of closure. The employees of these lending libraries are looking towards a bleak future.
However, in this gloomy scenario a few well-known ones are keeping afloat thanks to the wholehearted support of the readers especially those above 50 years and a few students who still like to read out of a book.
But, those in the age group of 20 to 35 are still missing from the libraries. A large section of youth used to visit the libraries to prepare for competitive exams, learning computer skills, body building etc. Today while many have adopted the newer means of getting knowledge, the rest have said goodbye to books a long time back.
The oldest among the lending libraries in the city is the Eloor Lending Library which continues find patrons, though not commanding the patronage that it had a decade back. The 30-year-old library at VJ lane at Jawahar Nagar is a haven for book lovers with its rich collection of fiction, non-fiction and children’s book. “The demand for books is still very good. We keep updating our collection based on the suggestions from readers and other experts. Besides we have many rare collections which no other book store has,” says Vijayan Nair, the accountant of the library. But he admits that the footfall have reduced drastically.
The city based library has civil servants, filmmakers, writers etc among its members. The library has a separate section for children. Geronimo Stilton, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Famous Five, Hardy Boys etc have good demand among children. Authors such as Veronica Roth, Percy Jackson, Vince Flynn are their favourite. It is exam time. So the libraries are looking forward to the school vacation when its young members come out in big numbers.
Another library in the city, Excel Lending Library in Kesavadasapuram provides a cool atmosphere for the book worms. The library is air conditioned.
The Hornbill library at Vazhuthacaud downed shutters two years ago due to lack of patronage. Other libraries which closed are Monarch and Krishna. Binesh Kumar, who owns Hornbill, is planning a come back in June. He is starting his library at DPI junction. “This city has a lot of book lovers. We have to reach out to them,” says Binesh.