Chennai’s popular Eloor library, which used to draw hundreds of visitors over the years, is going to close down after 27 years of existence, as per a report by Vinayashree J in The Times of India.
On Friday, there was a notice in front of the facility on North Boag Road in T Nagar which said that the owners have decided to shut it from March 1, 2018 because of losses incurred in the last two years.
With discounts ranging from 30% to nearly 80% of the book cost, the books in the library are being sold at a dirt cheap rate.
"Hardly any people are coming and we are not able to make enough from reading charges to sustain the working. It is saddening and disappointing to close it but there is no other choice. Unless people want to read, no one can run a library," Anoop Luiz, who runs the chain told ToI.
Anoop runs the chain under the proprietorship of his mother Mini Luiz.
The library gets its primary income from the reading charges as it charges a refundable deposit of Rs 1,000.
Established way back in 1979, the first branch of ‘Eloor Libraries’ came up on the marine drive of Ernakulam in Kerala.
Later, five more branches were added viz. Trivandrum (1986), Bangalore (1988), Chennai (1994), Kolkata (1998) and Delhi (2006).
P Luiz John started the library with the aim of providing books at an affordable cost, under the family name Eloor.
In April 2017, the branch in Kolkata wound up while the one in Delhi shut shop in 2013 for similar reasons - decline in visitors and rising costs.
"Only a mere 1,000 out of several thousand members are regularly active. Many today prefer a kindle or other online sources. Some also tell me that they used to read earlier but don't have the time to do so anymore. GST has also raised the charges for readers," Luiz added.
Over the years, the library has seen a gradual decline in the number of visitors, with the change most visible in the last five years. Besides, a number of membership cancellations were also happening.
Operational costs like the rental costs of Rs 80,000 a month in T Nagar exceeded the reading charges they collected, thereby making the business unviable.
A change in location was also contemplated but since 75% of their readers are based in T Nagar, the owners felt this would not serve much purpose.