Technology, though a lifesaver, has taken over every aspect of our lives. It has come to dictate the way we eat, the way we dress and the way we read. With apps like Wattpad and Kindle gaining popularity among the younger generation, the concept of going to a library, reading and borrowing books is a distant memory. Small libraries are nowadays a depleting business sector. It is a rare sight to see people cooped up in library corner, reading a classic. A struggling 36-year-old library in the coastal city of Mangaluru is all set to be shut down due to low readership and soaring maintenance costs.
Leena Priyadarshini is of the opinion that libraries help people make connections with other like-minded people. She says, “Libraries are always a go-to for readers. But the formalities relating to borrowing books are getting complicated. Our lives have gotten busier leaving very little time to bury ourselves in books. This coupled with the deadlines given by the libraries only make it more challenging.
I personally prefer libraries any day because it’s more like a get away from the technology. Also libraries are a place which lets you connect with books and yourselves. It’s a place where readers and writers connect with like-minded people.”
Wondanglo Lotha, a part-time online counselor enjoys visiting old book stores and libraries, “I like thrift shopping and second hand books. These old libraries let me discover new books, amidst a cozy ambience. Technology, though more convenient can never match a library. I don’t enjoy reading books on laptops and smartphones. Sadly, our busy lives do not permit us time to go, sit, relax and read a book at a library.”
This author feels that the situation can improve only with government and corporates taking the initiative. Author Preeti Shenoy says, “From what I have noticed, it is not only libraries that are shutting but even book stores. When I got to book stores, I end up spending money trying to do my bit to help these stores. When it comes to libraries, I think there is a solution to solve this problem, provided people come forward. If you have libraries that are beautifully designed and provide a good atmosphere where people can come and spend time then things will change. I think the government and corporates need to come together to establish such a place that will re-kindle interest in books.”
Sridhar Pattem, a library owner in the city feels that libraries are a forgotten culture. He says, “Though we have a good collection for adults, it’s mostly children that I have seen. Till now I cherish all the time I spent in a library either in school or college. For children these days, a library is a nice break from gadgets that they are hooked on to. It also depends on the culture, the parents inculcate at home. I have seen a difference between these children and those that don’t come. Unfortunately, in this aspect we have not been inspired by the West. From what I have seen, they have a huge reading culture, which we have not adopted. Its only in libraries that you find an unknown author as search engines might throw up only the bestsellers that are based on previous searches.”...