Central Library- Information Centre
Any person visiting Karnataka Sangha at Dr. Vishweshvarayya Memorial building, Moghul lane, Matunga, Mumbai would miss two important wings of the Sangha if he or she directly goes to the auditorium. They are the Karnataka Information Centre and the Central Library, which is home to one of the largest collection Kannada literature in the city. They are located on either sides of the building. The two wings operate as the two eyes and ears of the Sangha. It is only through these two sensory organs that one gets a glimpse of what is happening in the state of Karnataka. The Karnataka Information Centre and the Library aim at promoting sustained understanding of the Kannada language and Karnataka State. This is achieved through the following major activities:
The Sangha has been the pioneer of the Kannada Library movement in the city of Mumbai. Ever since its inception, thousands have used the facilities offered by this one of its kind library, over the years.
It was in the year 1933, when Karnataka Sangha, Mumbai was born in Giragaum, the heart of the Metropolitan city of Mumbai. The same year saw the eventful inception of Sangha's Central Library. Due to the constant and whole-hearted efforts of the office-bearers and dignitaries, from time to time, today the Library boasts of a huge collection more than 35,000 Kannada, Marathi and English Books. And the Central Library of Karnataka Sangha has the distinction of being the first of its kind in the entire metropolis.
The library set up in 1933, at Sanzgiri Sadan of Girgaum, was the first one to have been set up by the Sangha. The Second library was set up at Dadar in the year 1946 and the third one in 1957 at Kurla. circulating library was also in operation during the 1940s.
Karnataka Sangha's prestigious Sir M Vishweshvarayya Memorial Auditorium was built at Matunga, in the year 1977. The Library which was at Dadar, was shifted to this new building. Although several Kannada Libraries are active in Mumbai, the need for a central library to co-ordinate the library activities was keenly felt. More important with the students opting Kannada at the graduate and post graduate level courses and with a large number of Kannada writers and scholars of repute in the city, a comprehensive collection of Kannada books and journals with facilities for research had become the need of the hour. The Sangha duly took the necessary steps in the matter. "Serving to Grow and Growing to Serve" has been the mantra of Sangha's Central library ever since its inception.
During the year 1984-85, Sangha set up the new system of providing books to its readers. To save the time, it was decided to use the Book Card/ Reader's ticket format for the allotment of books to the members.
During the year 1995-96, all books in the Library were organized as per bibliographical codification. . Critique, Novels, Social, Linguistics, Health, Environment, Folk, Theater, Autobiographies, Music-Art-Yakshagana, etc., formed the basic categories. This system has ensured to the readers, the ease of selecting books based on their liking and interest.
Now the alphabetical catalogue cards are being used to store the books according to the title of the book and the name of the writer. Dignitaries like Shri Vyasarao Ballal, Shri. Lingaraj M. Patil, and Dr. S. K. Savanoor contributed immensely in making these important changes.
Each passing year saw addition of thousands of books to the wealth of Sangha's Library and hence the Library was shifted to various places in the building itself, during the last three decades. Now the Library is situated at the basement of Sangha's robust building.
Apart from nine Kannada dailies, the readers can have the pleasure of reading two English dailies and a Marathi daily News paper at the Library. That's not all! A reader can find more than seventy Weekly, Monthly, Tri-monthly Magazines, Special Editions, and Magazines of various institutions, at the library. Sangha is indebted to more than 20 publishers for their magnanimity in sending their magazines to the Sangha, free of cost. A reader can also find a huge collection of Marathi, English and Tulu books at the Library. Apart from Kannada books, a reader can find many English works on the Kannada language and the Karnataka State. It also has a good collection of books translated from Kannada and vice versa.
At this point of time, Library has a membership of nearly 1200 Kannadiga and Non-Kannadiga readers. This has been one important step of Sangha in the fulfilling one of its aims of fostering linguistic brotherhood in the metropolis.
The honorable government of Maharashtra, after assessing the work of the Sangha's Library, was kind enough to classify the library under the B category, and sanction an yearly grant of Rs.16,000/- to the Sangha. Today this corpus has grown to a whopping One lakh per annum.
Dr. Ranganathan has advised five tools for a successful operation of a Library. They are,
1. Books must be useful
2. Every one should get the books of their liking and interest
3. Every book should have its own reader
4. Save the time of the reader, and
5. The institution must look after its Library.
Keeping these five tools in mind, the Library staff at the Sangha, under the able guidance of the Managing Committee, has been working tirelessly and efficiently.
One of the objectives of the Sangha is to unravel the cultural heritage of Karnataka to the Non- Kannadigas. Information about current affairs is always in demand. Further, such information is constantly needed by the Mumbai Kannadigas themselves. We have, therefore organized a 'Karnataka Information Centre'. Information is held in form of articles and paper clippings under three groups, Viz.,
1. Karnataka: its history, economy, arts, institutions, and places of tourist interest
2. Kannada Literature
3. Biographies of writers, public leaders, educationists and artistes etc.
These groups are further sub divided into topics and we now have information on about seventy topics. There are nearly 2000 books related to Kannada and Karnataka in the centre. It has been developed in systematic lines so that any information can be retrieved easily. The information centre is unique, in that respect; it has no match even in Karnataka.
The information centre was inaugurated on December 4, 1988. The Government of Karnataka granted a sum of Rs. Four lakh, for the operation of the centre.
An Information Centre Committee was formed in the year 1990. Dr. Srinivas Havanoor, Shri.Vyasrao Ballal, Shri. Lingaraj Patil, and Dr. Savanoor took the initiative to set up the centre. This committee had a momentous responsibility of collecting information regarding diverse fields like Cultural Institutions, Educational Institutions, Kannada Language Institutions, Institutions related to fine arts, Kannada Writers, businesses run by the Kannadigas, Tourism, Education, Government etc.
Today, the centre is a window to information of incalculable worth on Kannada and Karnataka for the journalists, students of the Film and Television institutes, staff a nd students of Colleges and Universities in Mumbai and beyond, tourists and researcher scholars and the likes,
Initially, for the first few years, the centre published a monthly bulletin called 'Kannotation', which primarily gave information about the happenings in and around Karnataka to the Mumbai Kannadigas.