Echoes2

Echoes: A Letter from the Past – The Library

Hi there, you!

Thanks for stopping by! Now, let me take you on a little walk down the memory lane, all the way back to 1998, when the name of the college was ‘Indian Institute of Information Technology’, and there were only 50 students to each batch. All the way back to when the college looked like this:

The college magazine had its humble beginnings during these times (in 2002, fourteen years ago, to be precise). Back then, it went by the name ‘Echoes’, and it had black and white pictures of a very barren IIIT.  When we went through the archives of the college magazine, we felt the need to create a column just to remember and celebrate legacy. This column, named ‘Echoes’ after the very first issue of our magazine, is our way of saying #Throwback. ‘Echoes’ is our accolade to old memories and forgotten stories. It’s a column that gives us a little window-view into the college’s past.

Today, we’ll be talking about the college library.

The college library is probably the most visited college infrastructureespecially during exams. Who doesn’t like those comfy chairs and a nice AC that oozes inspiration and productivity out of us? It is everyone’s favorite getaway during assignment deadlines and end semester exams. But what you probably don’t know about this library is that it wasn’t always  in Vindhya.

The library was established 18 years ago on the very first day of college itself, on the 2nd of September, 1998. The first batch of books were brought in on the 22nd of September. On that day, the senior librarian recorded 175 books in one day, and the number almost doubled by the 28th of September, when we had 345 books in the library. Placed in our current Saranga Hall, it held the capacity to accommodate 100 people.  From its very birth, the library used stay open till 12AM. But they had a problem with the logistics, as there was only one librarian : Mr. Sahand he usually left by 5PM. To circumvent this, the institute came up with a ‘Student Librarian’ program, much like our current TAship system, except it was much less paid – every student earned a mere Rs. 25 for every hour of service he or she rendered to the library. On an average, they worked for around 18 hours in the month and with the money they gathered, they were able to pay their room rents.

The librarian grew so fond of those students and admired their dedication so much that even after eighteen years. He fondly remembers the first batch of student managers including Rupa Krishnan, Uday Kumar, Subarna Sathukan and quotes their name along with their roll numbers. The librarian, Prabhakar Sharma, recalls how the students use to work in shifts after their classes till midnight and always showed utmost honesty and cooperativeness. The library was student run till the year 2002-2003. This kind of setup enabled students to utilize a “Learn and Earn” system via which they were able to aid their hostel and mess fees. Mr. Sharma talks about the proactiveness of student community. He says, ‘Students requested for journals, newspaper reading sessions and science magazines and college was more than happy to provide them with material to enhance their knowledge.’ He adds that the first few batches of students were very inclined in reading fictional works and research journals.

The library never had one head, it was always run by a ‘Council of Chairs’ consisting of Prof. C.N. Kaul, Prof. Govindarajulu, Prof. Sangal and more. The first collection of books on Mathematics and Computer Science were brought in by Prof. Kaul and Prof. Rajulu. Mr. Sharma himself was an accountant before he joined IIIT as a librarian.

You can still find the physical records of the first set of books bought by library, there are very well maintained and preserved.

It’s always fun to find the hidden facts and stories about the place we belong to and call home. It is even more important to preserve this history and carry it forward with pride for the coming generations to cherish. ‘Echoes’ is all about collecting these old memories and storing them in a jar, to gift to the future batches.

That’s it for today, hope you enjoyed this walk. See you with a new story in the next issue!

Yours truly,
Memory Weaver

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Sneha Nanavati

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