The library building will be converted into a centre to conduct International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and other United Kingdom examinations.

Bengalurus iconic British Library to shut its doors and go fully digitalBritish Council website
news Human Interest Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 16:00

The British Council Library, a nostalgic icon of Bengaluru, is closing its doors for physical memberships and moving to a completely digitised platform. The library opened sixty years ago atop Koshy’s Parade Cafe located on St Mark’s Road and was shifted to another facility on Kasturba Cross Road in 2002.

The British Council announced earlier this week that five of its eight libraries in India would be completely digitised. In a communication to its physical members in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Pune, the British Council said it would now offer full online services and extended the online membership for existing physical members by 6 months.

“The mobile app version of the digital library will be launched at the end of June for both Android and iOS platforms, offering a seamless and interactive customer journey which pulls together our content in one place and allows members to build their own library collection,” Antonius Raghubansie, Director Learning Services, British Council India said in a statement.

While the library had around 20,000 books when it functioned above Koshy’s, the number of books gradually reduced to around 10,000 in recent years, Deccan Herald reported. Visited by Prince Charles in 1991, the library will remain close to the heart of Bengalureans.

The annual Reading Challenge event will also be digitised starting 2020 with the available titles added to the digital library.

The building on Kasturba Cross Road will now be converted into a centre to conduct International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and other United Kingdom examinations, which are run by the British Council Examinations and English Services India Pvt Ltd.

“The demand for UK examinations, including IELTS, continues to grow and this change will provide many more young people with the opportunity to access internationally recognised qualifications as a route towards international mobility for work or study, and to improve their employability,” the British Council India statement said.

 “Overall, we aim to provide more opportunities for young Indians to engage with the UK through our services and programmes, accessible digitally to more people across India. We will continue to engage with state governments and partners and build on the large scale, high impact work in English, education and arts,” the statement added.

While physical members had to pay Rs 2,200 per annum as membership fees, for the digitised library members will have to pay Rs 1,800 per annum.

The digital library will have books, journals, magazines, movies, graphic novels and more.

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