Some of the books can be bought back again, but several precious books which were printed several decades ago have been lost forever.

Even as thousands of books, book-shelves and many structures within public libraries have been damaged in the rains in Cuddalore, Chennai and Thiruvallur districts, a group of public officials and individuals and are trying their best to restore the books and begin the functioning of the libraries.

In Chennai, the public libraries which have been affected by the floods are the ones in Ashok Nagar, CIT Nagar, Pudhu Street, Jaffarkhanpet, Raghavan colony in Kodambakkam, Cochin Illam at Anderson Road and Police Quarters in Triplicane.

New Street Library near Aranganathan subway in Chennai is one of the worst affected libraries and has lost about 10,000-15,000 books. “The tiles on the ground-floor needs to be changed and the whole building requires to be renovated again,” said Elango Chandramohan, District Library Officer, Chennai.

In Cochin House library also, more than 15,000 books have been damaged. “The repair work has already begun at the Cochin House library and it will be soon opened for public,” said Elango.

 “The Pudhu Street library building has been affected due to rains and requires to be repaired,” said Ravi Kumar, Editor of Manarkeni publication.

Cuddalore was one of the districts affected by floods in Tamil Nadu. In Cuddalore district, more than 15 public library buildings have been damaged.

Libraries in Nallathur, Sethiathope, Karunkuzhi, Miralur, Paradur, Gunavasal, Rasakuppam, Srimushnam and Kattukoodal are the ones affected in Cuddalore.  “There is leakage on the ceilings of 15 public libraries and in three libraries we have lost about 3,000 books and many book-shelves,” said Vijayalakshmi, District Library Officer, Cuddalore.

“We have reported all the losses to the Government but it will take time for us to get the money for repairs from the Government. Till then, we do not know what to do,” she added.

The state of public libraries are similar in Thiruvallur district. “In Manali Pudhu Nagar library in Thiruvallur has also lost about 15,000 books and the building is in bad state,” said Ravi Kumar. Libraries in Kathivakkam, Padiyanallur, Kummippondi, Red Hills and Athipattu have also been affected in the district.

Meanwhile Ravi Kumar has been facilitating the restoration of books and repairs at the public libraries. “I contacted the District Library Officers and got details about the losses.  I brought together about 60 volunteers to clean the Ashok Nagar and CIT Nagar libraries. We removed all the sewage water and cleaned the libraries,” he said.

“In all the three districts about six to seven libraries have been damaged due to the rains and require atleast 1,000 books each to restart their functioning”, he added.

Some of the books can be bought back again, but several precious books which were printed several decades ago have been lost forever.

“Books on classical Tamil literature and history and even some works Periyar which are not in print anymore have been lost forever. It is going to be difficult if not impossible to get some of these books,” said Ravi Kumar, adding that, “some books about social reformers have also been lost.”

The requirements of the public libraries are books, book-shelves and volunteers to help to restore the library. If you want to help, please contact: Ravi Kumar- 9443033305.