I visited the state library over the weekend. It’s a rather distinctive, round red building that I see whenever I drive through Cubbon Park (the “Central Park” of Bangalore). I went to take a look.
It is lovely but clearly suffering from humidity issues as there in no A/C: the vast majority of the collection has been rebound (in a drab brown that reminds me of the brown paper bag book covers we used in high school) and the laminate “wood” floor (presumably from the renovation in 2007) is peeling and buckling. But if you look up, it is glorious — soaring ceilings that remind scent of a ships hull. The library has tons of seating and during my weekend visit, it was filled with people –and perfectly quiet. A real oasis of calm in the city.
There are books in English, Hindi, Kannada (the primary local language of this state) and others I could not recognise. Many are mixed into the main collection, but there was also a special section for Kannada literature and poetry. There were no DVDs or video games that I could see.
It does not appear that you can sign books out, so I opted not to bother with the paperwork required to become a member. (The Raj left a paperwork legacy that is truly incredible… and which ALWAYS requires a passport photo or 3!)
For those of you who listened to my rants about the demise if the Dewey Decimal at Nyack Library, you’ll appreciate this twist of fate: the State Library has over 250,000 books (or 2.5 lakhs in local lingo), but no catalogue!