Damage feared to some books kept in the basement

Several hundred books were allegedly damaged at the National Library (NL) here after the roof of the basement, where the books were kept, leaked profusely following heavy rain on Thursday.

However, the Director-General (additional charge), Arun Kumar Chakraborty, said, “No books were damaged, and the water was leaking from the air conditioning ducts.”

The building in question is the Bhasa Bhavan, located on the eastern part of the sprawling National Library premises in South Kolkata.

Sources in the National Library revealed that the leak was noticed by the staff on Thursday morning.

Water was pouring from the false ceiling onto five book shelves — each having about 5,000 books — in the basement.

“The staff scrambled to cover the shelves with plastic sheets. But by that time, several hundred books were soaked and damaged,” a senior National Library official told The Hindu.

“Almost half of them are more than 50 years old, and a section of them is quite rare,” the official said.

‘Structural flaws’

Photographs showed water dripping to the floor from plastic sheets used to cover the shelves. The official said the leakage was the outcome of “structural flaws” of Bhasa Bhavan, which was constructed by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) in 2004.

The Director General, however, clarified that “no books were soaked or damaged.”

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