A visit to the great library

by Ahalya on October 3, 2010

JGW-2010A lot of emphasis is put on the fact that reading makes you a better person. It adds to your intellect, gives you a different perspective of different situations in life, helps you gather experiences when you would have otherwise witnessed none and by and large adds to your life in terms of quality of thought, speech and action. Reading texts by scholars and intellects has been the oldest way to educate and enrich oneself.

When Julius Caesar landed in Alexandria one of the two things he wanted to do was visit the great library of Alexandria. The library was home to thousands of scrolls – the work of many generations. Some of the scrolls were brought there by Alexander himself. Scholars came from thousands of miles to read the works. It was said to be the greatest collection in the world.

Caesar could not visit the library – it burnt in front of his very eyes. The fire that spread to the great library and engulfed it was lit by his own men during their war against the Egyptian army. In spite of coming so close to the intellectual wealth of the world Caesar lost the opportunity.

Caesar felt the loss then. But we do not feel the loss today. Today, we do not miss libraries. We do not value them because we do not know their true value. And if, their being badly maintained and not updated is your excuse for not patronizing one, then you are the very cause of the excuse. Libraries need attention to grow. They need readers. They cannot grow in the shade of our indifference but will flourish in the light of our attention.  Libraries do not want clerks to dust the books but readers who would not let dust settle on the books.

Let us change the definition of a library. Libraries are not collections of bookshelves where old forgotten books lay, but, libraries are the inexhaustible wealth of generations waiting to enrich us.

If you live in a place where there are no libraries you should immediately move to a place that does have one. If you cannot do so (it means you are a tree) I urge you to read wisely – read to improve the quality of your mind and life. The act of reading had a purpose – don’t forget that very purpose for which language was invented. There are a finite number of books that you can read in a lifetime – choose wisely what you read.

Are you a member of a library? If yes, which one? If no, why?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jaya G October 3, 2010 at 9:44 am

I was a member of a circulating library near my house, but i am no longer a member because i finished reading all they books they have.


Sneha Shah October 3, 2010 at 11:43 am

Kathwadi Circulating Library near my house – walking distance


Vivek October 3, 2010 at 1:47 pm

No, no time to go to library. I just buy what i want.


Abhishek N October 3, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I am not a member of any library because they are far from my house


Sharan Sood October 3, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I was a member when i was in college, now i have no time go to a library, i only read stuff related to my work and therefore i have to buy all that i want to read.


Snehal October 3, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Yes, Rajesh Circulating Library.


Rohit Nichani October 3, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Libraries near my house don’t have what i want to read. So i have not joined any.


Meethil October 3, 2010 at 6:17 pm

I am feeling guilty for putting away my library membership for so long. Will take a life membership as soon as i can.


Maya Sanghtani October 3, 2010 at 6:46 pm

The library near my house shut down. I was a member till they were in business.


Vishal Devgon October 4, 2010 at 9:17 am

No, no library membership for me yet, but would love to be. The very feeling of going to library, racks n racks of books, picking a book, looking for a familiar author, the aroma of old books feels so warm n welcoming.
But thanks to the internet your laptop is your library and browsing through volumes is lot easier and less tiring. But buying a book restricts its lifespan to you n only you. I believe books too have a life and message and should change hands and go through different minds before they really end up in a pulp. Am looking for book exchange club/book lover for exchanging books, neone ne clues?



MRS. FRANCES TELLIS October 5, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Am a member of my office library which has an excellent choice of books, magazines and cds.


Ahalya October 8, 2010 at 11:59 am

Hey Sharan, thanks for participating!!! I will be sending you a book soon!!!


Chhavi October 9, 2010 at 12:12 am

Books are indeed an inexhaustible source of knowledge. And it is also true that we are losing touch with. i am not a member of any library currently. that is because i do not know of any good library in my vicinity, i do not get time to visit one in my hectic week and more importantly, i read on the internet. but i do admit that internet does not give me the joy of reading a book in my hands.


Michael Carabini May 22, 2011 at 3:55 am

There were at least two other libraries in Alexandria the library of the Serapeum Temple and the library of the Cesarion Temple. The continuity of literary and scientific life in Alexandria after the destruction of the Royal Library as well as the flourishing of the city as the world s center for sciences and literature between the 1st and the 6th centuries AD depended to a large extent on the presence of these two libraries and the books and references they contained. Thus while it is historically recorded that the Royal Library was a private one for the royal family as well as for scientists and researchers the libraries of the Serapeum and Cesarion temples were public libraries accessible to the people.


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