The smallest act of kindness is worth more than a million grand intentions – Oscar Wilde
Our Students of CAIE 8 A, visited The Madras Literary Society – a Colonial – era library which is an age-old building cloaked by the flamboyant Gulmohar on the outside. This vintage property is a treasure trove of archaic books and venerable first editions from the 16th century. It holds many gems for every curious reader.
This is possibly one of India’s oldest surviving lending libraries, the Madras Literary Society functioned as part of the College of Fort St George from 1817 and was a repository of all discoveries and experiences — whether scientific, literary or otherwise — that were made in the Madras Presidency. Many masterpieces are found here such as historical manuscripts, literary masterpieces, tomes on religion, art and philosophy, and volumes of fiction, reflecting the diverse reading tastes of members over a century. It is home to bibliophilic riches like Aristotle’s Opera Omnia, Newton’s Principia Mathematica, as well as rare, dog-eared books on Tamil grammar, and yellowing documents like surveys of the Buckingham Canal Project or maps of the Ganga. The collection is over 50,000 books rich and serves the lay reader just as well as an expert or researcher.
The library stands in the tranquil, green premises that house the Directorate of Public Instruction in Nungambakkam. The red-brick building is particularly interesting to any architecture buff with its obvious Indo-Saracenic features so typical of most of old Madras buildings.
However, this library is understaffed and needs more resources to protect its priceless assets. The students of Grade 8 decided to make a difference not just to touch the lives of those in need but to enlighten them by caring for the written word. Our students actively participated in Dusting books, cleaning shelves, sorting books, Writing Index cards and cataloguing. Our students walked out not just attending to books but with the thought of adopting books.
Tomorrow and day after tomorrow our children are intend to continue to inspire many more students to join hands and make Madras Literary Society a fully functioning state of the art Library.
What we do speaks so loudly that it can drown what we say!