Monday, September 7, 2015

Restore-A-Bookathon at Madras Literary Society Posted on Aug 11, 2015 in Chennai -Express News Service

The Madras Literary Society, the oldest lending library in South India, saw children and parents bustle through its corridors.
CHENNAI: The Madras Literary Society, the oldest lending library in South India, on Saturday saw children and parents bustle through its corridors that would rarely see not more than ten members on a normal day.
The children of Kids Central High were launching an initiative with the Madras Literary Society ‘Restore-A-Bookathon’ to create an awareness on books and to bring back the a 200-year-old bibliophile’s paradise to its former glory.
Looking in awe at the iron rack and ladder system which extended to two stories to guess the books on the upper shelves and clicking away with their mobiles and cameras to put together a collage at the end of the day, the children and their parents set out to look what could be done for the library which has rare collections of books on History, Geography, Philosophy, Religion, Art, Fiction and Literature.
“As part of the theme-based teaching with focus on Chennai’s architectural heritage, we chanced upon the Madras Literary Society this year. We found that it was not in good condition and each book needed around Rs 8,000 to be preserved. So as to raise awareness about the library and help restore some of the books, we sought help for the Restore-A-Bookathon campaign,” said Geethanjali, head of Kids Central, Kotturpuram.
The library, having a membership of 200, is innovative in its approach and even offers a book drop for elderly members who can have books dropped at their home at a nominal charge of Rs 20 per set, says the librarian, Uma Maheshwari
Mohan Raman, secretary of the society, acknowledged the fact that the membership was slowly growing year by year and that the organisation was looking forward to more members to join and help with the running of the age-old library which has more to history than just books, but a treasure trove of learning.
The society, which was formed by the East India Company back in 1812, has seen many a generation with over 80,000 books along with artefacts and journals from various expeditions which were later given away to other libraries and museums from time to time.
The 203-year-old library, which has good ambience and ample ventilation that would keep one lost in its corridors, had undergone restoration work taken up till 2009 after which it has seen a growth in membership.


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