The 59-year-old British Council Library in Bangalore has just undergone a major revamp — from that of a classic library space to a cultural hub hosting theatre workshops, art workshops, literary events and panel discussions.
Established in 1960, the British Library (as it is popular among folks of Bangalore) operated out of the first floor of Koshy’s Parade Cafe (Koshy’s Bar and Restaurant) in St Marks Road. The library is now situated on Kasturba Cross Road, opposite Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum. “We are delighted to observe that several readers back then have made it a point to continue their reading legacy on to their younger generations by ensuring their membership continues in the library over decades,” Janaka Pushpanathan, Director South India, British Council tells Indianexpress.com.
With over 3,300 members, Bangalore amounts to more than 10 per cent of the British Council Library membership in India. The library also has branches in Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, New Delhi and Pune.
Interestingly, the renovation of the library, to an extent, was also driven by user demand as over 40 per cent of the British Council Library’s members in Bangalore fall in the 18-35 age group. Members aged 36-55 form the second largest group of individual members (20%) followed by family memberships (15%), statistics from the library membership show.
The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) policy followed by the British Council enables anyone to become a member while the security system that is in place in the premises make one among the largest in the state the safest library as well, members of the Council claim.
The British Library in the coming days will host theatre workshops, art workshops, literary events, panel discussions and exhibitions. “To ensure that the library makes its presence felt like a meeting point for cultural enthusiasts and young professionals in the city to network and experience more, each event that we host will be finely curated,” Pushpanathan states.
The new digital library opens access to 10,000 books, DVDs, popular UK newspapers and magazines while providing digital access to 115,000 books and 14,000 journals covering a wide range of subject area.