PENANG Hindu Endowment Board (PHEB) has opened a Tamil library at Dewan Sree Maha Mariamman in Jalan Mengkuang, Butterworth.
PHEB executive director Datuk M. Ramachandran said the board set up the library room while the air-conditioners and books were donated by well-wishers.
The library currently has 5,000 books received as donations while 3,000 more books have been pledged.
Ramachandran said the board aimed to fill the library with 10,000 books within the next three months.
Most of the books currently in the library were donated by Sri Ananda Bahwan restaurant chain co-founder V. Harikrishnan.
At any one time, 25 people can be accommodated in the library.
“The books are for readers of all age groups and are on religious and educational topics, ” said Ramachandran at a press conference after Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy, who is also the board chairman, opened the library.
Also present were Bagan Dalam assemblyman M. Satees, PHEB deputy chairman Datuk A. Tanasekharan, secretary R. Surentharan, SJK(T) Permatang Tinggi board of governors chairman Datuk K.R. Pulayantran, Sri Muniswarar Temple president Datuk N. Gopalakrishnan and Malaysia Hindudharma Mamandram Penang branch chairman N. Thanabalan.
“The library will be open to the public from 10am to 5pm daily except Fridays and Sundays, ” said Ramachandran, adding that operating times would be reviewed after a month based on demand.
Ramasamy also opened the ICT Learning Centre located beside the library.The cost of creating the centre including buying computers was fully sponsored by businessman Dr R. Gunasegaran.
Malaysia Hindudharma Mamandram Penang branch has agreed to bring in trainers to give ICT lessons to children aged seven to 12 years.
The children will be divided into two groups, aged seven to nine in the first group and aged 10 to 12 in the second group.
Ramasamy urged parents in the community to give emphasis to their children’s education and encourage the children to make good use of the centre.
There are plans to digitise all the books in the library.
“The books if digitised, can be accessed from readers’ homes.
“The board must employ a librarian to take care of the library and the IT centre.
“There are many in the community who will donate for such needs.
“This is a good cause as we wish to create a reading culture, ” added Ramasamy.
Meanwhile, the PHEB-funded Penang Indian Heritage Museum in Macalister Road, George Town, is now open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays.
Visiting hours are from 10am to 4pm. For details, call 04-226 2593/ 04-226 5290 or visit the Indian Heritage Museum Penang Facebook.