Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Two Towering Testaments to Tomes!

The Madras Literary Society Library

Can you imagine a library of yore that had a committed and devoted readership which includes legends like Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Annie Besant, T T Krishnamachari and C P Ramaswami Iyer etc as its members?

Yes, we are talking about the Madras Literary Society Library.

Founded in 1812, the MLS Library is supposed to be the oldest lending library in the whole of South India. The oldest book is Aristotle's Opera Omnia in Greek and Latin published in 1619. At the same time, the library also has original documents and surveys of the Ganges Canal plain (1854) and Buckingham Canal project (1898). Old pictures of Pudukottai, Trichy, Thanjavur and Madurai, photographed by Captain Tripe, are preserved in a glass case mounted on a teakwood table at the entrance.

Visit this legendary library of yore – not only for its old-world charm but also for its rarest of rare books.

Working Hours

The Madras Literary Society Library serves the public daily from 10.00 am. to 05.00 pm. on weekdays. The library is closed on Sundays, three National holidays and selected festival holidays a year.
Madras Literary Society Library
DPI Complex
College Road, Nungambakkam, 
Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600006
Phone: 044 2827 9666

The Adyar Library and Research Centre (ALRC)

Yet another library of yore that has The Chinese Tripitakas, the Tibetan Kanjur and Tanjur, a collection of rare works in Latin and other western languages, and a complete set of important research journals among its priceless possessions, is the The Adyar Library and Research Centre (ALRC).

Founded in 1886 by Colonel Olcott with a small but valuable collection of the Founders' books. Originally situated in the Headquarters building, it was shifted in 1968 to a more spacious one, better suited to its growing needs. It has always been one of the important aspects of the work at Adyar, both for members and for the public; moreover, today it is one of the well known oriental libraries in the world, dedicated to research and publication in the field of eastern civilization, philosophy and religion.  It contains over 250,000 printed volumes and around 20,000 palm-leaf manuscripts from India, Sri Lanka, China, and other places, a few of which are kept on display for visitors.  The printed books include rare indological publications in several languages and a fine collection of works on different religions, philosophies and cultures.

Several rare and previously unpublished works in the manuscript collection have been edited and brought out in print; a staff of pundits and scholars is continually engaged in this task.  The Library has had a series of distinguished scholars as its Director and was recognized as a Research Centre for a Ph.D. in Sanskrit and Indology by the University of Madras.

Working Hours and Holidays (ALRC)
The Library is open from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., with the exception of Mondays and recognized holidays. 
Books will be issued only up to 4.30 p.m.
The Library is open only to Registered Readers.
It is not open to casual visitors or to children under 10 years of age. 

Individuals and parties wishing to visit the Library should obtain the Librarian’s permission.

Photo Courtesy: [MLS Library]:
ALRC Library Information and Photo Courtesy:

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