About Trichur Public Library

Library : A splendid history and promising future

A hundred and thirty years back, in 1873, to be precise, A. Sankarayya, the famous Diwan of Cochin convened a meeting of a handful of 21 youths and discussed how to help the reading public of Thrissur.

Books and a few periodicals were what is today called the print media but, they were much beyond the reach of even the elite of the society. The meeting took a far reaching decision to start a reading room in the small town, housing in a public building where the St. Mary's college library stands today. History tells us that it turned out to be a honeycomb for the headers - who were of course very few in numbers. The visitors of the Reading Room were limited to a few journals and books of the old type and it is continued to serve the people for six and half decades in the same premises, growing gradually and feeling strongly the inconveniences of an old building.

It was in 1938 that the, the Maharaja of Cochin embarked on the regal Thrissur Town Hall. As soon as it was completed, he ordered to shift the Reading Room to the facades of the Town Hall, the most beautiful edifice even today, situated in the middle of a 4 -acre square compound, easily the land mark of the town. The King generously contributed money and materials, for the shifting - 1200 rupees and plenty of wood from the forest land.

As time passed, print media was growing stronger everywhere and space for the Library was found insufficient even in the present house. Royalty paved the way for democracy and Sri. C Achutha Menon the visionary chief Minister of Kerala granted more space for Trichur Public Library in the upper story of the building.

Feeling the pangs of growth, the entire frontal rooms of the Town Hall is today insufficient to house one of the oldest and biggest libraries of Kerala. The whole area is packed with books and racks - an old type of storage of books which is not of much of an attraction as a modern library to invite the dwindling readership thanks to the encroachment of the Electronic Media.

Trichur Public Library is the first of its kind in the State to cope with the changing times by fully computerizing it. It was another dynamic administrator of the State, Sri. K Karunarakaran, the former chief Minister who granted Rs. 5 lakhs from his M P fund to do the computerizing in the mid nineties.

Thus the Library, borne from the imagination of the Diwan, grew up to an adult centre of learning through the care and concern of the Maharajas and in later times, of the Chief Ministers and Ministers. Thrissur Municipality had played a pivotal role in the healthy growth of this premier centre of learnig. It used to provide special grant occasionally which was truly a pillar of support, which in some later stage was stopped, unfortunately by the short sighted city fathers and mothers of modern times.

Trichur is acclaimed as the cultural capital of Kerala for reasons unknown. The presence of the three academics and the famous Pooram festival may account for it partly. But it was this Library that has contributed a great deal to the intellectual and mental developments of the townsfolk to make the generations truly cultured.