Libraries at London

I still remember the longing days when I was so obsessed with libraries and literally found none near to my home. We were the residents of Northern most part of Chennai where if you enquire about libraries, people would give you this scornful look. Library is something totally unheard of. In these parts, people have the notion that one would go to library if he were jobless. Moore market is the most we could have if we are so desperate for books. This is not exactly a library, but a place where you can get some precious books at cheaper price.

If I get so fanatical about book then I would travel to Purashavakkam in the scorching sun to visit Easwari Lending library, which was a saviour those days. So a visit to a library would cost me half of the day and I always feel so tired after coming back. Nevertheless, that library still holds special place in my heart. Then I bought the ebook reader after which my visit to that library gradually reduced.

After coming to London, the most tempting thing it offered was the numerous local libraries. Believe me, each local library here is 3-4 times bigger than the Easwari Lending library there at Chennai. And they have brilliant collection of books. This includes Tamil book as well. All the books are free. I can take up to 4 books and keep them for 3 weeks. I felt so overwhelmed. To top it all, this local library is just 5 min walk from my home.

People here just love reading. Just like Iphone, Kindle keeps everyone busy here. I am so surprised about this and I always wondered how everyone got into this habit.

Last week I took my daughter to the library just to give her the taste of the place. The library has very good collection of baby books. I took a book for my baby. While checking it out, the librarian said, I need to get separate card for kids. And using that kids could take up to ten books each time. I said Wow! And soon enrolled my daughter for it.

While my dear played with the kid’s books, I fetched four more books for her and went to the librarian again. The polite lady, on seeing my enthusiasm said – You know, we encourage kids here to read a lot. Whenever you return the baby books, we will track the number of books she reads and upon reaching certain limits we will give her a certificate to motivate her to read more books. There she said it beautifully!!!

Now I understood, how here reading has become an inbuilt habit. How much I long for these things to happen at Chennai. Sigh!

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