Nivetha Padmanaban, Rajesh Devadas and Prasanna Devadas are bibliophiles who moved to Bangalore a couple of years ago. Avid readers, especially of Tamil books, the trio were on a hunt for some library having a rich collection of regional language books. And, as is the case behind the launch of most initiatives, they didn't find a satisfactory answer. “We found a couple of libraries but the charges were beyond what a normal person would want to afford and the collection was also limited,” says Nivetha.
All three of them had grown up reading books and knew very well what a Tamil reader would be looking for. They sat together to list out the authors and the books there should be there in a library. And thus was born Pustaka. The trio still hold IT jobs which enables them to put in the capital for the books. The library currently operates from their houses, where the books are stocked.
Many would question taking the physical library route in the growing digital age. “Circa 1980s, all the pocket money earned in summer holidays by kids used to be spent on Champaks, Ambuli mamas, Chanda mamas and Amar Chitra Katha. Come 2013, while critics debate on the diminishing readership of books in this age of e-books and kindles, citing lack of time to buy/ read books and non-availability of books that you want to read, the plethora of book fairs organized each year prove them wrong,” believes Nivetha and team.
The primary aim of this library is to encourage people to start reading regional language books. “Nowadays, people relocate from their home town to other states for their jobs. We miss so many things during relocation like our family, friends, home food etc. Reading books in our regional language is also one of them,” says Rajesh.
The library has over 100 members and all the books available are updated on the website regularly. “We choose not to have a library for public in commercial place to avoid huge maintenance charges and that is how we are able to provide fair charges to our customers,” says Prasanna. The trio intend to deepen their collection and also want to get into digitization of vernacular books. The tug of war between the online and offline world will remain in case of books and a healthy mix balance between both would keep everyone happy and reading.