From the outside, it was immensely impressive and imposing - maybe of 9 or 10 floors, exquisitely constructed. As we walked the lawns to reach the Main Entrance, the interest in us was bubbling. (Caution: Handbags, Cameras are strictly prohibited. Even waterbottles are not allowed inside the halls.) There is a 5-feet bronze statue of Mr CN Annadurai, in whose name and honour this library is built.
This is the Tamilnadu Chief minister Mr M Karunanidhi's pet project and he, as usual, has overseen to the minutest detail of the construction. I salute Mr Karunanidhi for such an excellent library in Chennai. It was built at a cost of INR 1720 millions (172 crores), each paisa worth spent. This is the largest library in the whole of South Asia.
There are 9 floors in all. Fully airconditioned. Each floor has two wings, both wings storing books. The ground floor has the Braille Section with over 25000 titles and talking books section. And a VVIP conference Hall. There is a section here called "Own Use" where you can take your own books, textbooks, novels, reading materials, Laptop etc and, in the cool, silent environment, carry on your work !
Take your own reading material and work here ...
There are four large lifts to travel up and down. Each floor has two spacious Rest Rooms, ஒப்பனை in Tamil (toilets).We took the lift and reached the first floor - it has magazines, newspapers etc. Beautiful and sparkling tiles imported from the US all over the 3.75 lakhs of sq feet area! We browsed through the magazines - i read the latest Scientific American and also Thuglak. There are any number of soft cushioned leather sofas to sit and read with ample lighting.
Yes, the sofas, the brilliant light-design, the soft carpets, the cool atmosphere - the ambience is excellent for a reader.
In the other wing of I floor, a dedicated "Kids' Section" is located. More than 15000 titles of children books are there - with small-size chairs and sofas for the children to sit and read. Computer games, audio-video CDs are also there for the children to play and enjoy. Even the Rest Room here is designed for kids. Adults are not generally allowed inside this section except for one parent.
A program for and by children
An artificial Tree under which the children can sit and read
Second floor has Tamil books, both Sangam literature and Sujatha - Kalki novels, in two wings. There are more than 1,00,000 books here. All three of us picked up a short story சிறுகதை each - i took Sujatha's Apsara - and read it completely. It is a heavenly bliss if you are a book-lover. There is a state-of-the-art Seminar Hall in II floor.
Third floor has English books in two wings. Mostly non-fiction, all subjects particularly Economics, Political, Law, Education, Current Affairs. In the other wing, it is all about Computer books.
Fourth floor has subject books, in English. Now being organised. Not completed.
Fifth floor has books of Medicine, Mathematics, Life sciences etc. Being organised, not completed.
Sixth floor has books under various subjects. Not completed.
There is a huge, state-of-the-art auditorium, an amphitheatre, conference hall in this Library. A food-court and a coffee lounge are coming up.
It was a most pleasant and hugely satisfying experience for all of us that day. If you are in Chennai or if you visit Chennai, do make a visit to this fabulous நூலகம்