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The Joy of Books
Jan 06, 2011 08:44 PM 9173 Views
(Updated Jan 06, 2011 08:50 PM)

"The greatest gift is the passion for reading.


It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites,


it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind.


It is a moral illumination." - Elizabeth Hardwick


Reading


Of the various pastimes, reading is the one which not only enjoyable but also educational. There is nothing more enjoyable than settling back in a comfortable chair and reading a good book. Reading has been my favourite pastime and my selection of reading ranges from crime, humour, fiction, non-fiction, classics, politics, business and sports. For someone who loves reading, the best place to get books is a library.


Libraries


Libraries are one of the oldest institutions that are a treasure trove of knowledge. Apart from the public libraries, there are a number of private libraries that offer membership to the public, thus enabling access to a wide variety of books. Most private libraries are managed by individuals and are costly and most not well-organised to only cater to fiction and magazine readers.


About Just Books


A new venture that has come up is JustBooks. This is a library chain run by an IIMite. It works on the franchise concept and has a chain of libraries in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune & Mumbai. The concept of Just Books is to make quality reading available to everyone at affordable prices.


The Library


The library has branches all over Bangalore and other cities. In Bangalore, there are more than 10 branches. The library is well-organised and has all modern facilities like air-conditioned ambient hall, neat racks, seating facilities, etc. The best part is the use of technology like RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). All membership cards and books have RFID tags, what this means is – no registers or cards – there is a RFID reader and a touch screen terminal in the library. Members have to just place their books and card under the terminal and issue/return books themselves. This is a great advantage and a unique feature.


Membership & Fees


There are various membership plans to fit your budget. Starting from Rs.75/- membership fee per month (1 book at a time) to Rs.350/- (3 books + 1 magazine) at a time, there are plans to suit your budget and reading habit. You can visit the library unlimited times and take any book and also keep it for any time . Only in case of magazines, they have to be returned in three days times.

There are also annual plans where you can pay upfront and save 2 months fees and also get books home-delivered. There is also an internet scheme, by which you can order books online and get them home delivered, without even visiting the library.

And BTW: you have to pay a one-time registration fee of Rs.250/- and a refundable deposit of Rs.1000/- (to be returned at the time of closing membership)


Features & advantages


The Just book chain has a host of advantages


1) Becoming a member gives you access to any branch.
2) If you don’t get a book in your branch, you can request for it and it will be obtained from another branch
3) If a book is not available anywhere, you can suggest it and the management will get it for you (if they find it feasible)
4) You need not depend on the librarian, you can carry out your transactions (issue/return/search) yourself, thanks to the RFID technology. If you are not computer savvy, don’t worry, the staff will help you.
5) There is vast repertoire of books – lots of books for children, pre-teens, fiction, cooking, non-fiction, Indian writers, classics, vernacular, etc. New books are added regularly.
6) You can sit and browse through the books, before you take them.
7) The rates are very cost-effective. If you go to a movie once, you will spend minimum of 500/-, paying just 200/- per month to get books is a great investment. Especially, if you have children, you can inculcate the reading habit, which will definitely stand them in good.

Areas for improvement
a) The use of a terminal for book issue/return sometimes results in a queue. Since the same terminal is used to search for books, it can lead to a waiting time for those who are in a hurry to return the books.
b) Books to rack mapping can be improved to make searching for books easier
c) The library increased its monthly fee by 50/- from January, I was able to save money as I paid annually, so fee increase is a negative, though a minor one.
d) Magazines have to returned within 3 days, so that’s a problem, if you cant visit the library frequently.


Summary & Recommendation


I joined the library, after getting an online offer, where I could save on registration. I am a satisfied member and have found a place, where I can get unlimited books. I have reading a number of book reviews by friends and now I can get all these books to read, which is a blessing, for a book lover like me.

My overall opinion of this library is excellent. If you love books, then do join this library and get access to their facilities. Even if you are not mad about books, join this library and you can develop a love for reading.


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