The British Council Library, a hub of literature and cultural activities, is shutting down its physical space on Ganeshkind Road near Sancheti Hospital, and moving it entirely online.
In a statement, the library said, “We have invested in increasing and strengthening our digital offer so (readers) can access a vast range of educational and entertainment resources online.”
“The mobile app version of the digital library will be launched at the end of June for both Android and iOS platforms, offering (readers) a seamless and interactive customer journey which pulls together our content in one place and allows (them) to build their own library connection,” it added.
The annual Reading Challenge event is also moving online for the first time this year, with available titles added to the digital library.
The offline library space – which had a section for young bookworms, comfortable loungers for older readers, shelves packed with classics as well as the latest titles, and a small café – will become a computer-based testing centre for IELTS and other UK qualifications, managed by BC Examinations and English Services India Pvt Ltd (BCEESIPL).
“This centre will continue to provide many aspirational young people the opportunity to access UK qualifications for international mobility for work or study…” the library stated.
The digital collection comprises of thousands of titles from major publishers and authors, including the latest releases in the form of e-books and audiobooks, as well as more than 1,500 comic titles and graphic novels, recordings of concerts, films, 2,400 full-text newspapers from over 100 countries and 8,000 full-colour, digital editions for instant desktop and mobile reading, among others.
The library has also announced that readers can continue to access their online membership for as long as their current physical membership is valid.
“To compensate for the withdrawal of your physical membership, your online membership will be extended by six months from the date of expiry of your current membership, giving you access to our world class online resources for an increased period of time,” the library wrote to its readers.
A member of the library said she had taken a membership in November and was looking forward to revisiting the library after the lockdown was called off. “The library was a warm and friendly space, with staff who were patient when you asked about books or events. I am sad that I will never return there again,” she says.
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