Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Some books left
The Anna Centenary Library probably had the highest point in its young life on July 20, 2011, when the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Chennai. This library was the venue for her interaction with the general public of Chennai, in the 1000-seater hall attached to the library. Both hall and library were opened to the public on September 15, 2010, the 102nd birth anniversary of the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai.
A year later, the library was in danger of being shut down. The government in the state had changed and the new power did not think very much about this venture, even though Annadurai was their political mentor - as of their predecessor, too. The new government wanted to convert this into a hospital, and there was quite a bit of support for that proposal, especially from the younger generation. The issue has been referred to the courts, which don't seem to be in any particular hurry to make up their mind on what to do about this facility.
Thus, the library has not been able to realize its potential. Its 375,000 sqft over nine floors houses only 500,000 books. That's a rather poor utilization of space. Membership is - hold your breath - zero. Until the courts decide, the library is not taking any chances in taking on members. For now, it remains a place where one can go and read the books that are available, but can't hope for anything more. Sad!