In Chennai, a lending library major has adopted the model of establishing exclusive well-stocked reading facilities for them
Easwari Lending Library received such an invitation from a gated community in Siruseri, marking a new chapter in its business. Essentially about exclusively catering to partnering with gated communities, this model has invigorated the 66-year-old enterprise.
In 2013, Easwari Lending Library instituted a library at L&T Eden Park in Siruseri. Between then and now, it has set up six such libraries.
“Initially, we did not consider gated communities a potential customer base for us, but when a few management committee members sought us to supply books to residents we proposed this idea,” says P. Satish Kumar, one of the proprietors of the family-run Easwari Lending Library.
The model has the library collecting a monthly fee from the Apartment association for stocking books, offering the services of a librarian and maintaining the space.
Satish says though this model does not yield much profit, it enhances the organisation’s brand value. The apartment association is happy about offering the library as another amenity.
“The fee may range from ₹5,000 and ₹20,000 depending on the number of residents at the community. A stock of 5,000 books across genres would be parked, and replenished based on needs,” he says, adding this model would be sustainable in the long run.
“If Easwari Lending Library has survived in this digital age it is because of the nine branches that we have across Chennai, five of them are owned by us,” says Satish. “Rent outlays burn a hole in our pockets, and this model helps us cut down on this expenditure.”
Word-of-mouth publicity has helped Easwari promote this model.
“The committee members of Metrozone in Anna Nagar visited L&T Eden Park before setting up their library. It was the same with Ozone Greens in Perumbakkam,” he points out.
Every community runs the library the way they deem fit. While some want a librarian to maintain the inventory, a few communities manage with resident-volunteers.
“At Amarprakash in Chrompet, we only supply books and collect ₹ 5000 from them every month,” he says.
The pandemic has however slowed down Easwari’s plan to drive this model, says Satish, adding that the target is 50 gated communities in the next two years.
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