ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday June 08, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 54

Going cold turkey at a popular library

On Monday, April 3, 2008, I made a sad decision for someone who has been a regular library user. I returned my library books and chose not to borrow – for the first time in over a decade. This, for a book addict, was the equivalent of “going cold turkey”, to use a term to describe someone who decides to give up an addiction totally and abruptly.

I do not plan to give up my library membership, because the library provides excellent reading and research facilities for the public, and the staff is courteous and helpful. Unfortunately, parking a vehicle in the vicinity of the library is almost impossible, because of the many commercial and educational establishments in the area. Crossing the road is a nightmare for pedestrians, because motorists treat Duplication Road like a racetrack, ever since the uniflow (one-way) traffic system was introduced. Pedestrians have to scuttle for dear life at the crossings.

The problems don’t end there. There are other hazards and irritants: vehicles gliding up to the British Council gates to drop off students, vehicles arriving at business establishments, and heavy iron chains strung across the entrance of a politician’s residence.

It is reassuring that the British Council has in place facilities to minimise the risk of a terrorist attack within its premises. But it is irritating (and risky) trying to exit through the stiff “one-person-at-a-time” wicket gate when you are carrying a load of books, and especially if you are not in your prime. In a situation of sudden illness, it could prove a hazard as well.

All these reasons have combined to make the library well-nigh inaccessible. The library administration and the local authorities should treat this problem as urgent. This area seems to have become a zone where “accidents are waiting to happen”. It should be noted that many young students and senior citizens have to endure great difficulties to enjoy the library’s facilities. Of course, security measures are essential at any establishment, but efforts to ensure the security of a public institution and facility should not result in an insecure situation for the general public.

A traffic light near the road crossings, a more orderly system of traffic management on the road leading to the British Council, and a proper parking facility for the library, would be welcome.

By Mayanthie Jayasinghe, Nugegoda

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