Members of a family with roots in Krishnagar have come forward to build a modern textbook-cum-resource library as a separate wing at the 164-year-old Krishnanagar Public Library in Nadia.
The descendants of Naresh Nandini Sarkar, who have their ancestral home on RN Tagore Road in Aminbazar, raised Rs 50 lakh from among the family members to complete the project.
The Sarkars want to inaugurate the wing on September 26 to mark the 200th birth anniversary of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, a colossus in education and social reforms.
Construction of the facility, coming up on the rooftop of the existing library building, began on July 1.
When complete, it will include an air-conditioned hall of over 860sqft and equipped with over 600 books on a wide range of subjects, with Wi-Fi, computers, scanners, printers and other gadgets that readers and researchers require.
“We cannot imagine a better day than the 200th birth anniversary of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar,” said Kanchan Sarkar, one of the family members, who teaches sociology at the University of British Columbia at Okanagan (UBC-Okanagan) in Canada.
The idea to give something back to their hometown came when family members who live in the US and Canada got together in Cleveland (Ohio), US, last year. Eventually, they agreed with the suggestion of the eldest family member, Anjali Sarkar, a cardiologist in San Diego, to build a textbook-cum-resource library. They submitted a written proposal to the managing committee of the Krishnanagar Public Library which was approved in February this year.
“We came up with many ideas at the get-together at my sister Sanchita’s home in Cleveland, but agreed to build a library wing proposed by our paternal aunt (Anjali). We also decided that the library wing will be dedicated to our grandmother Naresh Nandini Sarkar and her sons Shyam Ranjan and Biswa Ranjan Sarkar,” said Kanchan Sarkar.
Sarkar said they wanted to support researchers who often find it tough to access contemporary or expensive books in a small town like Krishnagar. “Researchers have no choice but to travel to libraries in Calcutta. That’s why we will offer a wide collection of text and resource books for researchers in Krishnagar,” the UBC-Okanagan faculty member said.
The Sarkars will donate books on history, culture, politics, sociology, economics, environment, gender, elementary science, religion, constitution and law, art, music, painting, regional studies, library science, and women’s studies.
Anjan Sarkar, another family member who lives in Krishnagar, said the library wing would even have a refrigerator, microwave oven and a coffee-maker for the ease of researchers.
Joydeb Roy, a veteran member of the library, called it a unique initiative and hoped it would inspire others to extend similar support to rural libraries in the state.
Library sources said that since several members of the Sarkar family are settled abroad, those who live in Krishnagar are shouldering the responsibility to monitor the execution of the project.
Sanjit Dutta, a managing committee member of the library, said it was an unusual gesture by the Sarkar family. “People do donate books, but we never received such a huge gift for readers. We have only given them the space, they are doing the rest,” Dutta added.