I belong to the old school. I love libraries and the service they do. When I had found out about the well-connected and easily accessible public library in the town I live in, I had not been happier! My love for libraries comes from appa, who had always encouraged library usage to buying books. And so the habit stuck; as I moved cities, the libraries changed, but the books remained the steady companions!
So recently, when appa mentioned that the British council library of Trivandrum had to be closed down, a place he had frequented as a student, I felt a pang of disappointment. Although, I have never been to this library I reminisced my own visits to the British council at Chennai, during my final year of engineering enduring a long bus journey. The visits had a profound impact on the reader in me, in channeling not the reading, but learning. If you ever get lost, let it be in a library, is it not?
My discontentment led to googling to find out why the library had closed down. It threw up blogs of much disheartened folks, expressing their theories of lack of funds, dwindling memberships, low readership and many such in similar lines. Even the British library at Bhopal had closed down around the same time. It only caused me more distress and I reluctantly braced myself to believe that the web-surfing, channel-surfing, iphone-loving generation had no respects to pay to the aging library.
In today’s world, when one is being spoon fed with an e-book reader and many sellers mushrooming in the market; apple being the latest with the ibooks release, who wants libraries they say? A single click can get you to the virtual library and collection of books, blogs, newspapers and what not in your own nook. I might never be able to fathom the e-reader, even if I were tempted with a sleek design and attractive covers (N, are you listening?). No book can ever be read and the page still left unturned.
A kindle for each, her/his own; when did we forget to feel cozy in the coffee-colored pages, warmed with the touch of many readers before you, who enjoyed, loved and left their reader blessings for the next one? An e-book may never tell you such stories, in its callous, marketing exterior. And yet here I am ironically leaving a digital footprint with this blog space, crying out for the love of keeping our libraries alive.
Someday (which is sadly not far away), when learning and reading is a solely digital experience, I wish this post to will make its mark to remind the future generation that someone from their past remembered the dear old libraries!!