THANJAVUR: The Thanjavur Maharaja Serfoji Saraswati Mahal Library and research centre here has completed 100 years after it became a ‘public library’ from a ‘palace library’ through an order passed by the Government of Madras-i.e. order no 1306 Home (Education) Oct. 5, 1918.
The order said that the ‘Tanjore palace library’ contained in the Saraswati Mahal in Tanjore palace, which is bounded on the west by the open yard in front of Serfoji statue hall, on the north by the covered passage from “Sarat Mahal” yard to the statue hall yard, on the east by the open yard and cloisters of the Maharaja Sabha and on the south by Jirath Khana under the Arsenal tower and consist of books, manuscripts, shelves, and almairahs in which they are kept and preserved and all other things and articles of furniture shall be called “the Tanjore Maharaja Serfoji Saraswati Mahal library”.
It should be preserved as and maintained as a ‘public library’. It shall be located in Tanjore palace and shall on no account be removed from there, the order said.
The order also said that a committee of five including district collector (for time being) and district sessions judge (for time being) and three others shall be constituted for running the affairs of the library.
Since then the library has been functioning with district collector as director. For some years in between, a director other than collector was tried but it did not work well. Though the demand for appointing a full-time director arise now and then from staff, researchers and people, district collector continues to be the director of the library.
The completion of 100 years as a public library is being celebrated on October 21.
A day-long programme with state Education minister and state Agriculture minister has been planned to celebrate the occasion.
Maratta King Rajah Serfoji two is the architect of the library and he enriched the institution by providing his personal collection of books and manuscripts. It is considered as one of the biggest manuscript library in the whole of Asia.
Palm leaf, paper manuscripts, modi-script documents, books are available in large numbers in the library which acts as an institution sought after by research scholars even today....