Malleswaram Mirror Particular: Time-traveller’s library

By Tina Freese

80-year-old GRJ Gupta says that his library, right here since 1952, will dwell and serve its readers for so long as he lives

Whereas strolling on Sampige Street, simply 250 metres away from Mantri Sq. Mall is a nook that may transport you to a special period. Once you step into the Gupta library, the fixed honking and hustle of the day is forgotten and it’s no extra 2022, however the Fifties.

Sitting behind his thick ledger is an 80-year-old librarian with a welcoming smile. The room, no larger in dimension than your kitchen, is filled with books as much as the ceiling. From Toni Morrisson’s traditional Beloved to the teenager romance novel Twilight, the shop has all of it.

The early days

It began in 1952 when GRJ Gupta observed that college students within the space didn’t have library.

“We used to have a retailer the place we offered groceries and stationery earlier, however in 1952, when college students began asking if we had books, I made a decision to begin a library,” he stated.

Gupta’s intention behind the library was to impart the treasure of books and nothing else.

He stated, “It was not worthwhile as such – then and now. We had the grocery enterprise that funded the library every time required.”

Issues began to look higher once they grew to become the only distributor for a lot of magazines and newspapers.

“We had been the distributor of the Occasions of India publication in Karnataka. Afterward, we obtained the Udayavani paper as properly,” he stated.

It was a busy time for the library earlier than the 2000s.

“No person was even allowed inside. Folks used to face in a queue, search for the guide within the ledger, and get it issued. It was very busy. The membership used on the time of opening was Rs 1 and 50 paise,” he stated.

At the moment’s story

The time when Gupta began the library was very completely different. At the moment, readers have developed with new applied sciences resembling e-books and audiobooks coming into the image.

“There are tablets and what-not, however I nonetheless imagine that books are one of the best ways of studying. The variety of folks visiting has diminished considerably,” he lamented, including that media, TV, and cellphones have modified the way in which we learn.

Gupta feels dangerous about youngsters not being bookworms anymore.

The library nonetheless has members, however the quantity has diminished.


“Most of my members have been members for a very long time. They’re additionally previous like me now, so their visits are additionally not as frequent anymore,” he defined.

The library used to have books in 13 languages, nevertheless it has diminished to 4 now- Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and English.

With age and time it grew to become tough for him to retailer and preserve the books.

“Throughout Covid, the library was shut for 3 to 4 months. I had surgical procedure and needed to shut the store for longer. These books are very previous, it is extremely arduous to take care of them, so I needed to promote a few of them,” he stated.

The longer term

The variety of readers and members in his little library might need decreased, however his spirits are nonetheless excessive.

“My daughters are married, so that they won’t be able to care for the library. It’s simply me, and I’m 80 years previous. I’m not certain how lengthy I’ll dwell, however so long as I do, so will this library,” he stated.

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