Email :

About Us

The Library is now completing 137 years of its glorious service to the public.

Kottayam Public Library was founded in 1882 by T Rama RaoDewanPeshkar (Collector) of Northern Division of Travancore State.

Immediately after his appointment in 1880, he shifted his Headquarters from Shertallay to Kottayam. Besides being the founder of Modern Kottayam and providing all amenities needed for a District Headquarters, he founded Kottayam Public Library in the very centre of the Town and became its first President and continued till 1887 when he was elevated as Dewan of Travancore. Rama Rao had named it “Reading Room” in the style of the the Reading Rooms of those days in England.

The Library is now completing 137 years of its glorious service to the public. Growing from a “Reading Room” functioning in a small 2 Room space in 7 cents of land with 35 members and 674 Books it saw a stupendous growth through 3 centuries. Now it is the foremost Library in the state with over 4000 Members, 1,50,000 Books and a book storage space of 14,500 sq ft. in ground floor of a 3 storied building of it own. Also we have recently opened a 2500 sq ft. area exclusively for a Reference Section providing proper

Conveniences for hassle-free reading. A special study area is also arranged for research students who come for availing the quiet ambience for serious study. Besides routine lending and reading facilities at Sastri Road Library, we have a large Public Reading Room in a 4 storied buildingat Thirunakkara where the original “Reading Room” was functioning from 1882. In 1967 a new 4 storied building was constructed here and was inaugurated by Smt. Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India. On an average a thousand people come here a day to browse through English and Malayalam News Papers and Periodicals. Facility is open to all, free of charge. Also there is a special Reading Room alongside for the use of Library Members. On the ground floor we have another Special Reading Room set apart for Senior Citizens, Women and Physicallyhandicapped who have difficulties to reach the upper Reading Room. A Reading Room opened in our Kanjiram property is used by the rustic community of that mofussil area, ten kilometres away from the Town. In our land atAnathanam, Manganam there was a branch Library but it had stopped functioning for some time. Now efforts are on to start a branch in a new building. The Children’s Library functioning west of Thirunakkara Temple is our Children’s wing. We have also accommodated a branch of JawaharBalbhavan alongside in the 3 storied building owned by us.

Kottayam Public Library has the distinction of being the first Library to be established and run by the Public in Kerala and also the second largest Public Library in Kerala, the largest being the Trivandrum Public Library owned by the Govt. of Kerala. Membership in the Library has increased from the original 35 in 1882 to 894 Life Members, 927 Ordinary Members,2779 Subscribers and 18 Patron Members as on 1st August 2019. There are also 6 Institution Members.

It was a challenge for us to find funds for meeting our routine expenditure for running the Library needing several Lakhs, from the meagre receipts coming from subscription and fine, which will only be around Rs. 60,000/- a month. We were challenged further in finding funds for expansion programmes and projects. So throwing caution to winds we launched on to massive building projects, adding two more floors of 12000 sq ft. each and then two extensions on either side adding 21000 sq ft. in three floors. But the risk in losing the land pledged to the Bank was worth taking. It was a gamble and needed guts to go in for such a bold decision. Withscrupulous financial management and discipline we tided over a crisis situation. The saying that when the going gets tough the toughs get going came true in our case. We could pay off the E M I without a single default in all the loans we tookand extricated our library from the disaster of failure to repay. We could also get great tenants like the Rubber Board, Income Tax Commissionarates , C P W D and Intelligence Wing of Commercial Taxes Dept.,ensuringrental income with incessant flow. Now we have crossed turbulent waters and reached safe shores. The proverb nothing ventured nothing gained came prophetically true in our case. We could repay the Trust placed in us by the Public of Kottayam abundantly and in true measure.

Through great planning and creation of Assets the Library has achieved self-sufficiency and sound financial stability. We were not dependingon grants from the Library Council for the last 10 years. Besides substantial rental income we have significant additions in assets and conveniences built up over the years. They are

  • 3 ½ Acres of prime land at three Central areas in the Heart of the Town.
  • Three multistoried buildings with a total carpet area of One Lakh twenty thousand Sq. ft.
  • K P S Menon Auditorium with a capacity of 1500 persons and three more mini halls for functions and parties.
  • The Children’s Library, a three storied building in 1.05 Acre land.
  • The three reading rooms in the centre of the town where reading facilities for public are available free of any charge.
  • The Kanjiram branch with facilities for the rural population to read News Papers and Periodicals without any membership formalities.
  • The 32 feet high “AksharaSilpam” created by masterScluptor Kanai Kunhiraman, the only one of its kind and majesty in Kerala and called his masterpiece by the sculptor himself.
  • Tenants of repute like two Commissionarates of Central Income Tax Department, C P W D of Kerala Region, Intelligence Wing of Commercial Tax Department of Kerala, Kosamattam Finance etc are all attractive enough.

There are more than one and a half Lakh books for Lending and Reference.

There are more than one and a half Lakh books for Lending and Reference. The reference section is well stocked with very valuable and rare volumes and could be considered a store house of vital information gathered and replenished over decades. No book of this section is available for taking out. The Reference section was shifted to a spacious area measuring 2500 sq ft. in the new extension on the Eastern side of the Main Building. It was opened for public use on 6th July 2019 by Hon. Justice Mr. Antony Dominic, Chairman of Human Rights Commission of Kerala. We have also added a specially cabined study area for Research Students to come and study using their laptops and taking notes. Most of the books in the Library are in English and Malayalam, though we do have Tamil and Hindi sections. The books given to us by the Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library Foundation are mostly in Hindi. Library has requested for more English books. During 2018 we could purchase new books costing Rs. 3,50,000/- . Total number of books available in the Library are valued at Rs. 58,02,149/-. Installation of a Transformer at a cost of Rs. Ten Lakhs was necessary because of regular fluctuation in power supply. Thuswe have ensured damage -free performance of our Computer network enabling hassle-free selection of books and data connected with the day to day functioning of the Library. A wide variety of Newspapers and Magazines in English and Malayalam, Kerala Gazette, Employment News etc are subscribed and are available in our different reading rooms.

Lending books is only one of the several activities of the Library for the readers and Public at large. We could confidently say that the Library which had seen 3 centuries during its glorious march through the columns of history, has diversified its range of activity as no Library in Kerala could do. We could add on innumerable programmes of diverse nature by providing recreational and health-oriented facilities for the citizens of Kottayam and neighbourhood. The Zumba Dance Academy for Women, Music Club to promote talent in singers, Yoga classes for conditioning of the mind and care for the body. PrakrityJeevanaSamathy and Readers Forum are promoted by the Library attracting different segments in society. No other Library in Kerala has such diversification in activities, serving the community in several spheres of Human Life. It is this wide spectrum of activity that differentiates it from other Libraries in the State. With unflinching devotion we ensured that the noble trajectory set by the founding fathers and the great leaders who presided doing the last 137 years are not deviated or diluted. A list of the diversified activities initiated by the Library is listed below.

Recognition and assistance received across the Boarders

Kottayam Public Library repeatedly received the patronage of Tamil Nadu Government as when Late Dr.K. Kalimuthu the Hon: Speaker of Tamil Nadu Assembly made a second goodwill visit to the Library with his family in 2005. This visit was in remembrance of his earlier visit 23 years back when he was a minister and came as a speaker in our Centenary Celebrations in 1982. Then he was impressed by the excellence of the Library and had presented portraits of Thiruvalluvar and SubramaniaBharati which occupy pride of place in our Gallery.