Easwari Lending Library

Easwari Lending Library is one of my regular haunts in the city. The branch I am a member of is situated in Lloyd’s Road. It is a stuffy place, with rows and rows of books and space for only one person to move in between the shelves. But what is contained in the shelves makes up for all the discomfort.

For each book that you take, you have to pay a reading charge that is largely dependent on the proprietor’s mood and choice. If it is a fairly new book you pay high (I paid Rs. 40.00 for Shantaram), for untouched books it is as less as Rs. 5.00. The nominal lending time is 10 days, but again it is more flexible. I returned my copy of Mobydick after almost 4 months for a fine of Rs. 10.00.

Since almost the entire collection is built out of old second hand books, you can find hard to get books such as Winston Churchill’s World War II or The History of English Speaking Peoples, Neville Shute’s obscure novels, Devan’s Thuppariyum Sambu series (Tamil) or large collection of Archies comics.

Finding a book in the library used to be an exercise in serendipity, but not anymore. They now have digitised their collection, and have a website too. It makes searching their books easier online. With 7 branches across the city, this is one library worth a visit.

12 Comments so far

  1. Sankar (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 2:07 pm

    I was a member at the library while I was in school. Used to be a regular there for various comics. But it’s been ages since I have been there. I have to kickstart my reading habit again.

  2. PSU (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 5:27 pm

    Oh My!! I am so glad that I found this Madras forum :-). You are all bringing back forgotten memories. We used to be a member of Raviraj(?) Lending Library. It used to be on Usman Road. Most of the times I would send my younger brother from Mahalingapuram by bicycle to get me new books :-)He was barely a teenager. Now I am sure that with the horrendous traffic I would be scared to bike myself :-)

  3. vatsan (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 7:17 pm

    chenthil, otherlibraries like senthil in rapuram or rajeshwari in kutcheri road belong ot the same group, ellam maman machan business. this one family kinda dominates the library scene in chennai except for ellore and the counslate libraries, ive been going to senthil for over 12-13 yrs now, and my family even longer,

  4. vatsan (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 7:21 pm

    with the reduced reading habit, the grp has reduced the number of libraries they run, i remember there were 2 near my home, one on rangachari road called kumuram and another senthil, now senthil and kumuran have merged, and senthil has become better now! just takes loads of effort to search for books but the quality of books has gone up after they consodilated their operations

  5. Kaps (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 11:46 pm

    I didn’t know that Eswari had branches. Does Eloor still exist? I remember that Eloor used to charge 10% of the cover price as the rental charge. Rs. 40 for Shantaram looks similar to that.

  6. FSN (unregistered) on April 25th, 2006 @ 3:47 am

    I’ve been a member of eashwari lending library for about 15 years now…although I haven’t gone back there in over 6 years ( I live *where else* in the US) Just wondering if our man Palani is still around…he is a really nice guy, and gives you good rental prices. His son however is kind of annoying – dont remember his name.

    Keep up the good work guys. I love the blog…

  7. vatsan (unregistered) on April 25th, 2006 @ 6:47 am

    palani isnt rnd, now hes like into semi retirement, his son is annoying, but his nephew who runs senthil isnt bad (i visit tht library)

    ellore is still round, but more than their cover pricce its their late fees which is killing, i usually overshoot or borrow lots and don like it for tht reason, for me senthil is de best

  8. Chenthil (unregistered) on April 25th, 2006 @ 4:36 pm

    Looks like half the metblogging team is a member of this library. FSN – Palani visits rarely these days, his son is in charge. Slightly annoying, but he has brought in computerisation, website and stuff, so it is ok I guess.

  9. phoenix (unregistered) on April 26th, 2006 @ 2:26 am

    hey guys,

    we shuld do a round up of libraries. i go to bcl. if we can all blog about tht….?

  10. Ravages (unregistered) on April 26th, 2006 @ 10:08 am

    Nevil Shute, BTW :)
    Yes, Easwari is great. My office was right next to the place and I think I spent more time there hunting for Roald Dahl than I did hunting for ideas in a brief

  11. Balaji Kartha (unregistered) on April 27th, 2006 @ 6:04 pm

    Yes, Easwari does brings back memories. Even to me who has never been out of the city for 20 years now!
    When I first came to this place, in 1986, I did not have any friends & this place was where I found the books that kept me company. I was there atleast twice a week, when they used to be in that shack (before the apartment came in that place).
    Then things changed for me, business, job, work, marriage, son and now memories come back!
    I have not even driven that side of town for a long time! Now will try & go that side, just to see the place.
    I remember I used to keep their membership card in my purse for many years – as a slim thread of connection – but I think I lost it about a decade. It is nice to hear the place has survived the dramatic changes that have taken place in our city.

  12. suresh (unregistered) on April 29th, 2006 @ 8:45 am

    Wow, haven’t been to the Lloyds Road area in a while, but didn’t know that the library was still around. Expected it to have been replaced with a flat or an Internet cafe. Reminds me of the other lending libraries I used to haunt: Raviraj on Usman Road, Ram Mohan in Besant Nagar, Adayar near Adayar Woodlands.

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