Students spend quality time at International Library and Cultural Centre in Ranchi. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Surprise, the Google and Kindle generation also goes to the library.
The 19-years-young International Library and Cultural Centre (ILCC), on Ranchi’s Club Road, is overflowing with college-goers.
“Of the 1,200 members we have at present, some 60 per cent are college students or fresh graduates. It’s a very healthy trend in an otherwise tech-savvy generation,” said its administrator Vidya Pankaj.
At any time of the year, the reading room is chock-a-block.
“We have opened other spaces, including the computer room, for our readers,” Pankaj said. “But you’ll find many read at the reception counter, too,” Pankaj smiled.
The ILCC functions from where The British Library existed till 1995. When the venerable institution downed its shutters in Ranchi, the ILCC came up on public demand. The British Library also donated 14,000 books to the then fledgling ILCC.
Nineteen years on, the capably run library has expanded to include over 35,000 titles on its racks, a Hindi section, cultural activities, language classes in French, German and Spanish, career counselling sessions and health check-ups.
“We were lucky to get extremely competent people to run the show. The late Mrs A.B. Davis, a well-known social worker and the widow of a renowned psychiatrist, was ILCC’s first managing trustee. After her death, Milind Borde took over,” Pankaj said.
Deputy managing trustee Jyoti Bajaj added their career counselling sessions were a hit among students. “But despite so many activities, we have not received any government grant,” she added.
The library’s revenues come from life, institutional, corporate and individual memberships; trustee donations and fund-raisers.
“Individual members are in the majority. Each member pays Rs 600 annually. It was Rs 500 till last year,” Bajaj said.
“Trustees do donate generously and we also host fund-raising drives to keep the show going,” said Hazel Davis, another deputy managing trustee, who also happens to be the first managing trustee’s daughter-in-law.
Readers are full of praise. “I am an ILCC member since 2010. I come here to widen my knowledge for competitive exams. Not only does the library stock useful books, authorities here try to arrange the books we request,” Sumit Kumar, who graduated in chemistry from Gossner College, said.