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Love for the printed word is here to stay

By April 24, 2018No Comments

Source : The Hindu


Mushrooming of libraries in the district bears testimony to the trend

KOCHI : The book is alive and well, and Kochiites appear eager to agree with Thomas Kempis who said: “Everywhere I have sought peace and not found it except in a corner with a book.”

This is the resounding message from book lovers, and those in the business of books in the city on the occasion of World Book Day on Monday. There is little doubt about the health of the book, says V.K. Prasad, vice president of the Ernakulam Public Library, one of the largest libraries in the State and a hub of book lovers in the city.

According to Mr. Prasad, the library has 10,500 members. More significantly, he said, the footfall at the library had risen from around 7,000 a month in 2014 to nearly 10,000 now. The library, which inducted radio frequency-based interactive system last year to enable members to borrow books without the help of staff, has more than 1.5 lakh titles on its shelves now.

More Malayalam titles

T. Jayachandran, a veteran publisher, said the new trend of self-financing publishers had raised the number of titles coming out in Malayalam.

“While the print order may be low, the number of new books is going up. The trend is reflected in the drastic increase in the number of new publishers,” he added. The love for the book is not sagging anymore, said an avid reader who played a key role in organising the Krithi book fest in Kochi in March. The event attracted nearly 7 lakh visitors, while books worth around ₹17 crore were sold. The success of the festival was such that the State government has decided to make the event an annual feature in Kochi.

According to K.K. Joshi, a member of the State Library Council, libraries are turning more active. “There is great demand for books. It is evident from the 450 active libraries functioning under the Council in Ernakulam district. Each of these libraries has a membership of at least a hundred. The number of readers will be much more,” he added.

“What is more important,” he said, “is the fact that library managements have become more quality conscious thanks to activities organised to promote book reading.

N.S. Pradeepkumar of V.N. Keshava Pillai Smaraka Library at Valayanchirangara near Perumbavoor said the library had 5,000 members and around 35,000 books. It functions between 7 a.m. and 8.30 p.m.

New technology had initially appeared to suppress the eagerness for the printed word. But that does not seem to persist going by the trend at the EMS Cooperative Library at Kakkanad.

An official of the library said the membership had gone up to over 13,000 in the last 15 years. The number of titles has also crossed one lakh.

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