Central Library

The wonderful world of books at the Goa State Central Library in Panjim


Reading is a favorite pasttime of a lot of people. Each one’s taste in books is different and people tend to visit bookstores looking out for their favorites. If they can’t be found, they’ll turn to the online world and pick up books from a website like Amazon. However, not everyone is inclined to take that route and a lot of them just look for libraries and borrow books instead. Sadly, libraries are few and far between these days for various reasons. Where then, do people go to lose themselves in a different world? Well, Goa does have a State Central Library in the business area of Panjim called Patto.

The Krishnadas Shama Goa State Central Library

The Central Library used to be located at the Institute Menezes Braganza building for many years. That is until it was moved to a state-of-the-art building in Patto. It is actually named Krishnadas Shama Goa State Central Library and interestingly enough, is the oldest public library in the entire country. It is named for Krishnadas Shama, founder of Konkani Prose and known as Father of Konkani literature, to recognize his contribution in the field of literature in the 16th century.

It’s an impressive edifice that is said to house approximately 2.5 lakh books in different languages such as English, Hindi, Marathi, Konkani, and Portuguese which have existed since the inception of the library. Books are available on different topics and for all ages.

The library also offers modern facilities like Self Check-in/Check-Out Kiosk, Book Drop Box using RFID Technology.

Delving into the archives of the State Central Library

Historical accounts reveal that the State Central Library is the oldest public library in the whole of India. This library was established 15th September 1832 by Vice Roy Dom Manuel de Portugal e Castro as ‘Publica Livraria.’ It was known as ‘Academia Militar de Goa’ (Military Training Institute) in the early days. Approximately 4 years later, in 1836, it came to be known as ‘Bibliotheca Publica’ and was quickly filled with bibliographical repositories. These happened to be taken from all the convents of religious orders that had been shut down in 1834.

Later that year, it was shifted to premises where the Municipal Proceedings were held. However, some book collections ended up being scattered. The collection on Mathematics and Military sciences was left in Academia and books on Administrative and Legislative matters were transferred to the Secretariat Library.

The 15th of February, 1897 was a big day for the library. On this day, it was declared a National Library and renamed as ‘Bibliotheca Nacional de Nova Goa’. In March 1925, it was annexed to the academic and cultural institution, (Instituto Vasco da Gama) and redesignated as ‘Biblioteca Nacional Vasco da Gama’. In 1852, on the 18th of March, by a decree law, the library was given the privilege of the  ‘Deposito Legal’ (Delivery Act) and began to receive all publications from Portugal and her overseas Provinces.

From September 1959, the Bibliotheca was detached from the Institute and put under the administrative control of ‘Servicos de Instruccao e Saude’ (Education and Health Services); it was then renamed as Biblioteca Nacional de Goa.

The books in the State Central Library

As mentioned before, the Central Library holds around 2.5 lakh books but this wasn’t the case in the pre-liberation period. Back then there were a total of 40,000 volumes. These consisted of mainly of Books and Journals in Portuguese, French, Latin, English and very few books in local languages like Konkani and Marathi. Today there are books for every age and topic under the sun and even place to sit down and read comfortably. Besides this, the Central Library also offers lots of other services which can be viewed on the official website along with other information about the place.

Added attraction

if one does visit the State Central Library, a visit to the fantastic Mangrove Boardwalk is in order. This beautiful space is located just behind the building and is very relaxing and calming. Check it out.

Information credit

Krishnadas Shama Goa State Central Library (official website)