CHENNAI: After six years in the wilderness, the Anna Centenary Library (ACL) in Chennai has come back to life with the variety of events including summer camps for kids, orientation for IAS and IPS aspirants and literary talks by prominent writers - thanks to the court order. One of the biggest libraries in Asia that is situated on an 8-acre land in Kotturpuram, ACL was declared open on September 15, 2010. The nine-story building built at the cost of Rs 172 crores has facilities like an auditorium, Braille section, an amphitheatre and a food court besides the huge collection of books and journals. But for political reasons, the library was put into the wilderness and no new books or journals were purchased for several years in a row. After saving the library from being converted into a super speciality hospital, the Madras High Court had passed orders to restore the library to its old glory.
Following the court orders, the officials now procured new books and journals and initiated various programmes to attract the readers and youngsters. “We are introducing several new programmes in the library to utilise all the facilities. We also plan to procure a large number of books and subscribe e-journals for the library,” said S Kannappan, director (in charge), Public Libraries and Director of School Education. The summer camp for the kids has started last week. It became an instant hit among the parents and children. Storytelling, science experiments, chess class, creative writing, comic strip writing, puppet show, arts and crafts, painting and yoga classes are some of the activities being conducted at the camp.
“The kids found the classes interesting as they learn something new every day. We are having more children during the weekends,” library officials said. The summer camp is scheduled until the May 31. The events daily start at 11 in the kid’s section of the library. Civil service aspirants are coming to the library in big numbers as they have decent facilities in the library. To guide them the library has organised the orientation programme on every Sunday. Serving IAS officers are invited as resource persons to guide the young graduates. The latest addition to the list is Ponmalai Pozhudu (a golden evening) on Saturdays. Famous literary personalities are invited to give the talk on each Saturday evening. Tamil writer S Ramakrishnan is going to give a talk on April 15.
Recently, the library has subscribed the Magzter, the largest digital newsstand with over 9000 magazines. There are also other proposals like providing wifi inside the library and subscribing to e-books. “We will set up a book fair at the vacant space backside of the library on the occasion of world book day. With the government’s support, we want to bring several new facilities to the library,” Kannappan said. At last, the library’s potential to provide public space to revitalise the cultural and intellectual life in Chennai is finally being realized now.