The British Library at Trivandrum was one of my favourite hang-outs in the city for a period of 3 years. I became a member of the library in 2004. I made several re-thinkings on whether to join the library or not, simply because the membership fee was Rs. 600. Whereas to join the Public Library or University Library, one needed only an amount within Rs. 300. After several calculations and budget revisals, I became a member of the British Library. In those days, I was still doing my graduation and 600 Rs meant a lot. The ambience was the aspect which attracted me the first. After being to the college and university libraries, where the racks, books, and reading rooms were not cleaned for years, British Library was a welcoming one and indeed looked like a library.
The first day, I wandered around all the sections and finally borrowed three fictions. In the beginning, I found it difficult to adjust with the library. The period for which a book could be borrowed was two weeks, after which it was to be renewed. I usually lost track of the date and ended up paying huge amounts in the form of fine. But gradually I picked up the habit. I started gaining a lot more interest in reading. I always made it a point to visit the library twice or may be thrice a month. I started loving the place.
The following years when I had to renew my membership, I never gave it a second thought. Even after finishing my graduation, I was in the city and frequently visited the place. The British Library was the place from where I picked up the habit of reading intensely. I never borrowed the CDs, browsed through the kid's section, or used the internet connection over there. Always felt there was lot of time left for that. But alas, they closed it down... :-( This was something that hurt me the most.
I would say that it was one of the few libraries in Trivandrum which maintained all the aspects of a good library - the ambience, a wide collection of books, friendly staff, etc. It was really bad that such an institution had to be shut down. My membership has expired and I have moved out of the city. Need to look out for the British Library over here!