Andrew’s Library, Surat city, Gujarat - 170 year old British heritage site

Andrews library, under restoration.

Andrews library, Surat, Gujarat

Andrews library, Surat, Gujarat.

It is needless to mention that the role being played by the public library in any place to enrich the knowledge of the community is immense. It is a treasure house of knowledge, quite indispensable for the  voracious readers. Quite interesting is the fact that  it caters to both the rich and the poor  alike..  An integral part of any urban place, its presence is quite indispensable for the people of all walks of life.  Students and researchers frequently use them for their needs; it is a boon to those who are in pursuit of better knowledge. The latest books will help the readers keep abreast of  the  current developments in their field(s) of interest. 

damaged Andrews library bldg, Surat city, India.

damaged Andrews library bldg, Surat city, India.

Located in  the Chowk area of Surat city, Gujarat close to the Tapi river  across the Surat Fort's entrance,  Andrew’s Library is a heritage site.  Believed to be one of the oldest libraries in that state,  it  was established on 1st July 1850.What is so interesting about this library  and its historical legacy is its impressive architecture and design; hence it stands apart in that locality of this vast commercial city.  As the library has an excellent collection of books both rare and old books, and one ones, covering various fields, covering  science, commerce, engineering and medical fields, etc., obviously, lots of people with special interests find  them  useful for their work.  Besides the library carries  newspapers and magazines in many Indian and English languages for the locals. The building where the library is  functioning is an old one with  distinctive style of that time toeing the line of colonial architecture. This 170 year old library went digital after a decision was taken in 2016.  It meant the people could access it on line via computer and mobile networks. The library presently has a  collection of more than 18,000 books, including novels, children's books, educational books, etc.

The library was named in honor of  Andrews, a retired English  magistrate who worked  in this region. The cofounder of this library is  Rao Bahadur Naginchand Jhaveri, a wealthy pearl dealer and  quite known in this city and the building carries his name. The first president of this library was Mr. Alexander Kinlock Farbers.

Surat city, Gujarat, Andrews Library

Library quote.

Unfortunately, the  historical library had to bear the fury of 2006 floods  that affected many parts of the city and the river near-by also overflowed its banks. In the aftermath of devastating floods that left a trail of destruction of houses, etc, the library lost 25000  books, much of them were rare and out of print. It was an irreparable loss to the literary community.   

The Gujarat government declared it a heritage site and way back in 2015, took a decision to conserve and restore the Surat Fort along with 7 other historical sites  in the city including this old library building.  The restoration job was given to the Surat municipal Corporation (SMC). The library comes under the Chowk Bazaar heritage project 

 Andrews and Naginchand ZaverimManav Vikas Trust  runs the library  and its present President  Pradip Jariwala said,  ''This is the first library being run on donations from the people in the city. We are just  maintaining the legacy of reading that was started in 1850 and  the e-library concept is to sustain ourselves in the present age of information technology." This library is the first to provide  students - both higher school and college - will get educational rereading materials - books etc., for a meager sum of just Rs50 per year.   On completion of one year books will be returned to the library. About 2500 students were getting the benefits in the past.