I've spent nearly 2/3rd of my life in Chennai - but I had never been to Connemara Public Library. Whenever I cross Pantheon road, I remind myself to visit Connemara library ... someday. Finally, the day came. I visited Connemara library two weeks ago. It is conveniently located in Pantheon Road, Egmore and very accessible to people from Nungambakkam, Chetput, and Mount Road. It is located in a huge campus which was mostly abandoned. (Also read: American Library in US Consulate - for history lovers)
There are a number of facilities inside the campus - most of them out of operation or closed. The campus also houses Chennai Government museum among other things. On the day that I visited (a Saturday), a Chennai corporation school had brought their students to the library. It was fun to watch the kids running all around with curiosity. (Also read: Semmozhi Poonga - Greenway in the heart of Chennai City)
I've seen the interiors of the "old building" in several movies and I was longing to see that. To my surprise, the library has moved to a new building and the old/legacy Connemara library is under preservation.
The new library is located in a multi-storeyed complex. The library had books covering almost all the subject - right from new age computer technology books to old age "Tholkappiams" & "Manimekalais". The folks who were there are mostly poor/middle class students, old/retired people, and the folks who are trying to kill time. I believe the library serves as a good resource for students who cannot afford costly books. I didn't see many "rich" or "middle aged" people there. (Also read: Visit to World Classical Tamil Meet - 2010)
Though the library has a good collection in terms of "quantity" I seriously doubt the "quality" of the books. Most of the books (except for engineering or management books) are at least 50+ years old and they're in a pathetic condition. The books looked like a person in hospital after a serious accident - stitched everywhere, or with patches/tapes all over. Some of the aisles were stinking because of the large volumes of old books. The library also has a computer room and digital collection (CDs, DVDs etc.,) - once again, targeted at students.
I saw administrative people only in the ground floor. There weren't people available to help/assist the visitors in 2nd or 3rd floors.
I saw a canteen in the Connemara Library campus - however it was empty. There was a petty shop selling Aavin drinks. There are playing structures for kids - most of them are broken/rusty. There is place for school students to sit and eat. There was a small store selling books - which had a good collection of books to buy.
I saw a few foreigners/tourists visiting the library and the Chennai Government museum.
There is no entry fee for visiting the library. You can be a member by paying an annual subscription of Rs.50. You need to pay Rs.300 to borrow up to 6 books. You've to get the signature of a Grade A or Grade B government officer to be a member (not sure about the purpose this serves).
I was quite disappointed with my visit and I decided not to become a member of Connemara Library. I'm eagerly looking forward to visiting Anna Centenary library. I heard good feedback about Anna Centenary library from my friends.
American Library in US Consulate - for history lovers
Anna Tower Park - A Boon for Anna Nagar residents
Saro's R2I Blog covers Return to India (R2I) topics such as R2I planning, R2I checklist, R2I Jobs, R2I Salaries, R2I Schools and Post R2I life experiences in India
Friday, February 25, 2011
Connemara Library, Chennai - Disappointing
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