If you are versatile in Tamil and are looking for suitable reading material, or simply want to improve your knowledge and understanding of the language, pay a visit to the ‘Khutub Khanah Muthamizh’ library in Sentul.
This 63-year-old library in Sentul is led by P. Raman, 59, and as per a Facebook post, the place is lovingly cared for by the librarian, Ms Vasuki.
This library was established on 14th April, 1958, by 19 ambitious Indians who worked At Sentul railways.
In an interview with FMT, Raman stated:
Originally from India, they had a discussion and came up with the idea to open a library. So, they found a small place in Jalan Ipoh for a monthly rental of $22.50.
But overtime, they outgrew the space as their stock of books grew larger. That’s how they came to be in Jalan Sentul in 1974, Raman says, raising the funds needed so they could settle the higher rental here.
Selected members would actually travel from house to house during Thaipusam and Deepavali asking for funds. They even held special movie nights.
The library holds 22,858 books from different authors around the world and 2,008 books from local authors. Here you will find books on religion, literary, scientific poetry, fictitious and historical subjects.
Beaming with pride, Raman says;
We are currently in the process of launching an e-library to enable easier access to our books. So far, we have worked through 600 books from Malaysian authors.
We were honoured to have the Indian High Commissioner visit us in 2019 and donate 19 books written by Abdul Kalam. We also have some very old books, those that are even out of print in India itself.
He states that membership is only RM50 and that as a member, you are allowed to borrow a book for two weeks.
If you don’t want to become a member, you can always visit the library and read the books. Just remember to place the book on the shelf before leaving.
According to Raman, the library has 810 members and can comfortably accommodate 50 to 60 people at any given time.
We have many university students who come here for research purposes especially for their thesis – we even have students all the way from Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) in Tanjong Malim, Perak.
There are also three Tamil schools in the vicinity so we do get quite a number of students. Last week, some parents brought their kids here to research characters for a school play.
Raman further told FMT,
We are currently in the midst of approaching parents and schools to allow the students from nearby schools to study here once a week. We are also in talks with an association who proposed the idea of a mobile library.
Raman smiles as he recalls a friend’s prediction that libraries would soon become obsolete because books were now available to all through their phones and computers.
Raman wholly disagrees, saying, “I believe a library will continuously play an important role in our education and I can definitely see Muthamizh Padippagam flourishing and serving Malaysians for many years to come.”
Source: Free Malaysia Today