12 February 2014

Easwari Lending Library, Chennai

If you love Books and Travel, you are sure to find both the worlds merging sooner or later giving you some of the best experiences and memories over time. This is what happened to me, on my recent trip to Chennai. My book buddy and I decided to research and visit some old book shops, antiquity dealers or old libraries. That is when she suggested the name of Easwari Lending Library, supposedly a popular place and we both wanted to know why?

Being Non-Tams in Tamil heartland, we planned to meet there, hoping to find it easily, what with it being popular and all. Though our assumption was wrong. No one knew the name, but knowing the address helped eventually. And our first reaction was not very impressive. It turned out to be an old godown area, with noisy and business like feeling. There was no MAINTAIN SILENCE sign or random people spread around on table and benches with their notes and books. A reception desk was placed at the entrance with some computers and friendly staff.  But then we looked left and found rows and rows of wooden shelves and stands filled with BOOKS. That's when we realized the truth in the OLD ADAGE – Don't judge a book by its cover! - OR - Don't Judge a Library by its Building!

We immediately immersed ourselves, getting lost amongst the rows and rows of books, browsing the enviable book collection, and surfing the range of titles, authors and genres. There was something for everyone. From Archie's and Amar Chitra Katha to Tamil and Hindi Pulp Fiction, Mills and Boons to Harry Potter, Indian General fiction to English Classics, Magazines to Course Books, crime to romance, and much more. It turned out to be a wonderful hour spent just browsing and discovering all sorts of books. My friend also enrolled as a member and opted for local home delivery of books.

Now that's what a well-stocked, modern library is. And India is badly in need of many. Such private ventures can give some good competition to the institutionalized British Council & American Library who are driven mainly with the goal of promoting their regional fiction. So guys do visit Easwari Library website here. Meanwhile, I carry on my quest to travel and find the treasures of great book shops, library and antiquity sources for you.


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