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Books are  knowledge treasures. Unfortunately, reading books  and visiting libraries is neglected in India. Part of the problem is the library conditions.

In India, library conditions are pathetic. Most of the funds allocated to libraries are used to fill administrator’s pockets. There is little reading space, and poor lighting.  But this news, gave me a ray of hope.

Maharaja Bir Chandra Manikhya Bahadur established the first library in Tripura in 1888. His successor and son named the library Bir Chandra State Central Library in memory of his father.

Four years after the merger of royal Tripura with the Indian Union, Govt. of Tripura took over the library in 1953 and declared it a public library.

On the statehood day of Tripura (Jan 21) this year, Bir Chandra State Central Library was  transferred to a big, royal heritage building at the old secretariat complex in the heart of the capital city Agartala.

The Library currently holds  1,69,081 books and has members numbering 17,034. It subscribes regularly to 24 journals and 34 newspapers. In its present palace like home, separate modern reading services will be provided to children, women, senior citizens, researchers and general visitors. The two new facilities of career guidance and reprography are to be added shortly.

While I do not expect every library in the country to be moved to a royal place, the least the government can do is provide good facilities, and encourage the habit of reading books and using libraries.

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