As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, a 190-year old heritage library in Kerala is celebrating it with an exclusive reading group for them. The State Central Library, located in the heart of the capital city, launched the all-women group to promote reading among women members, especially homemakers.
Popularly known as the Trivandrum Public Library, the heritage structure, housing one of the finest collection of rare titles starting from the 16th century, was established in the year 1829. State librarian P K Sobhana said the book-house had launched several programmes in the past to promote reading among public, including children, and the latest initiative is to bring more women into the world of letters.
“Our target group is homemakers. Generally they do not have much platforms to share and discuss their views about books or authors. That’s why, we have thought about an exclusive space for women readers,” she told PTI.
Titled as “Penvayanakoottu” (Women’s Reading Group), the group will provide women members of the library a platform for regular get-togethers to discuss books, she said. It is also proposed to give a space to interact with their favourite authors and organise seminars and discussions on divergent topics. The registered members of the group are proposed to gather at the library auditorium at a convenient time and engage in discussions, she said.
“Even when the library used to organise several programmes, the participation of women was comparatively less. We hope the new reading group will help enhance their participation in such initiatives and also give an impetus to their reading habit,” the librarian said. Sobhana also said the registration and the exact working plan of the reading group would be drawn up in the coming days. An integral part of the states cultural landscape, the Central Library has over five lakh titles and subscribes 300 periodicals. The book house had amazed several people including world renowned English writer William Somerset Maugham.
Astonished by the wide collection of world classics and continental literature, including his own works at the library, the writer, during his visit to the princely state of Tranvacore in 1938 had scribbled in the visitors book that he was pleased and flattered. According to historians, the library was ordered to be set up in 1829 by the Travancore royal Swathi Tirunal and renamed as the State Central Library in 1958.