by Sameer Majali
This seems like a continuation of our article about the much neglected City Library in town. Reflecting on the status of Belgaum since the days of our childhood, one characteristic really stands out as an unfortunate tale in town. We have always been an impoverished town when it comes to the availability of literature. For as long as we can remember, Navbharat Book Stall was and has been the only place of mention when it comes to the availability of books. Apart from the magazine sales at news counters including the trusted old Chandamama , Amar Chitra Katha and the Phantom and related comics, there hardly seems to be a place worth mention. The Shrikant Gokhale store “Alphabet” was at Tilakwadi for some time but faded into history with the man himself. His effort at expanding the reader base was commendable but the likes of him are scarce. The City Library has always had a collection which may have quite literally withered with time but so have the takers. There were stray attempts in form of the Friends Library and the Forget Me Not Library but it’s a tale long forgotten. Most old schools have stopped lending books to students on account of the colouring deeds and the missing pages. Big Bazar stopped selling books in town since there were no takers and sold off the stock at throw away prices to a select few. It is indeed a sad tale. The online availability of books has fed the private delights of the rare species that still choose to bury themselves into creations on the evolved version of the papyrus.
With the opening of the new WORDPOWER book store on Khanapur road, Tilakwadi, book lovers may be in for hope of a treat of sorts.
Books on the shelves range from English and Marathi to Kannada. Tales for children, fiction, reference, travel, food; most of the categories are on display. The store has just opened and many new titles may be added if it manages to attract sufficient attention.
The children’s section is cool with lot of activity books, story books and delightful toys. Fiction was ample and just enough to sample for the ones that take a peek.
There were many in shop that came to ask for the duration of what seemed like an exhibition and soon realized that it is a full-fledged shop which plans to stay for long. Let us reach out and make such places last beyond mere exhibitions.
In all a good place for book lovers to dig into and we can only hope that it manages to dig into psyche and habits of citizens at large. After all, “Books are true friends for life.”