Libraries still in vogue

Libraries are still in vogue even in this era of tabs and Kindles. It still is the favourite destination for bookworms. The increasing memberships in major libraries show that the libraries are here to stay.

Reading habit

The reading habit of the members have witnessed significant change over the years and libraries too have updated themselves to meet their requirements. In most of the libraries in the suburbs and rural areas, Malayalam pulp fiction used to top the list among the books which were borrowed. “But now, even in the suburbs, new-gen writers and all time classics from all over the world and books translated to Malaylam by writers of other Indian languages are borrowed by many,” says Syam Dinakar, Thrikkakkara.

Among Malayalam writers, novels by M T Vasudevan Nair, Madhavikkutty, O V Vijayan, M Mukundan, Thakazhy, Lalithambika Antharjanam, S K Pottakkad, VKN and Basheer still remain the most preferred choice. “But we cannot say that the demand for Malayalam pulp fiction has come down. Still many prefer these books,” he added.

From  Muttathu Varkey to Mezhuveli Babuji,  Malayalam pulp fiction wing is still strong.  Some of the best read pulp fiction novels by Mathew Mattam, Joycee, Sudhakar Mangalodhayam, Batten Bose, Kottayam Pushpanath and Ettumanoor Sivakumar, K V Anil and Kamala Govind are still hot among the readers


What’s so popular?

Huge collection of reference books, newspapers and various magazines is another reason for the vast popularity of libraries. “The vast information provided by the internet has posed no competition to the network of libraries. The increasing number of memberships every year substantiate these claims. A library maintains the social and cultural value of a society,” says Ramachandran, the Librarian at Ernakulam Public Library.  “Parents also play a major role in promoting reading habits in their kids. Besides these, the immense support provided by educational institutions is also an encouragement in inculcating reading habits,” he added.

Test of time

Libraries will continue to withstand  the test of time because of the value of the books which it posses, believe many. “Reading books enables one to visualise and thus understand it better” says Rajesh, librarian at EMS Library, Thrikkakkara. Some libraries also take initiative to promote reading by conducting various kinds of camps. The inclusion of a vast number of genres of books also attracts more readers. Most of the libraries now provide an option to renew and order books online, making it easier on members.

“The feel  of having a hard copy with me is much more satisfying than reading an e-book,” says Rhea, a voracious reader and a member of Ernakulam Public Library.

The EMS librarian also said that children below the age of 15 borrow more books than the adults. Hence, most of the libraries have maintained a good collection of children’s books.

A glance at history

The first library in India was established in Calcutta in the year 1835. Later on, modern India witnessed a tremendous rise in the growth and development of libraries. Libraries aim to provide readers with a wide variety of reading materials which are informative, educative and entertaining. Until the advent of internet in late 1990’s, libraries were the only means of relevant information.