Maintaining personal libraries becoming a tough task

Rajamahendravaram, the cultural capital of Andhra Pradesh, is known for poets, writers, Sanskrit scholars and book lovers. Many of these eminent persons have huge collection of books in their personal libraries.

According to one estimation, there are 100 personal libraries in Rajamahendravaram city. Since most of them are maintained by senior citizens aged between 60 and 90, an air of uncertainty hangs over them as the future generations are not showing interest in continuing the legacy.

Doctor Karri Rama Reddy, psychiatrist who made it to the Limca Book of Records for varied educational qualifications including 16 post-graduate degrees and nine diploma certificates, has a wonderful library with more 12,000 books, 10,000 e-books and hundreds of magazines and newspapers. The books include general medicine, mathematics, engineering (he did his M.Tech), management, computer science, political science, music, art, Indian medicine, English literature, language, Telugu literature and spiritual books. He also has British and American journals and notes prepared for M.D. exams along with different dictionaries and the Bhagavad Gita.Dr. Rama Reddy said maintaining the library was very difficult as it had to be cleaned up every six months to protect from insects, rats and moisture.

“Maintaining a library is difficult and preserving them for future generations is a Herculean task. No book lover will give away their books to others till their last breath as they procure them with great difficulty and spending. However, at the end, everyone has to give it to some library or University if there are no one to continue the legacy,” Dr. Reddy said.

He suggested keeping hard copies and digitalising the books in the personal libraries and the government should maintain book banks.

Sannidhanam Narasimha Sarma, former gazetted librarian of the Gowthami Regional Library, said there were more than 100 senior writers, poets and scholars in the city and they should divide their books into archives and the latest books.

He suggested giving them to the Nannaya University or the Saraswatha Niketan in Vetapalem in Prakasam district.

“Earlier Gowthami Library had space and acknowledged the books donated to it. Now such a system has gone,” he said.

Potukuchi Suryanarayana, an octogenarian in legal profession and former columnist of The Hindu, has a collection of more than 5,000 books.

He said as he could not maintain the library, he was ready to donate them to the Nannaya University. There are several writers including Prof. Yendluri Sudhakar of Telugu University, Patiwada Suryanarayana, writer, Muppidi Prabhakara Rao, senior story writer, Viswanatha Gopala Krishna, Sanskrit scholar, Simhambhatla Sudrashan of the Praja Patrika weekly magazine, Nallagonda Ravi Prakash of Samacharam weekly and Dr. Ganni Bhaskar Rao, Chairman, GSL Medical College who have personal libraries.

Vice-Chancellor of the Nannaya University M. Mutyala Naidu said they had constructed a huge library building in the new campus and were ready to preserve any number of books.

“We will display the names of the donors on racks and it will help scholars and students to get archives, rare books collected by leading personalities in the city. We invite people of other districts also to donate to our library and we felicitate them,” he said.

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