On 16 May 1827, the library was opened by Desbassyns de Richemont. In 1884, it was located near the Ateliers des Ponts-et-Chaussees (present P.W.D.). Later, it was transferred to Rue des Capucins (Romain Rolland Street).
In the beginning, it was open only to Europeans, but, after 1837, natives were allowed in the reading room so that they could acquire a good knowledge of the French language. In 1852, a section of Archives was created as an adjunct of the library. In 1935, the library had about 25,000 volumes. In 1942 a museum was added. On 27 August 1967, the birth centenary of the Great French Scholar Romain Rolland - a contemporary and close friend of Mahatma Gandhi, the library was renamed Romain Rolland Library; in 1974, it was shifted to its present location.
The Romain Rolland library, now has a rich collection of more than 3,00,000 volumes of books both in French and in English. The Library, earlier known as 'Bibliotheque Publique', is one of the oldest Libraries in the country and the biggest in the Union Territory. The books in the various administrative establishments formed the nucleus of this Library which was enriched in course of time with further additions through proper financial allocations in the budget.
More than 45,000 adult members are utilizing the Library and nearly 2,00,000 books are annually loaned to the readers. Apart from this, nearly 190 periodicals are being subscribed to and is indeed heartening to note that on an average about 1,000 readers are making use of the reading room facilities every day. Recently the Library has not only developed in size, but has improved its service by making available a large number of books, and by opening more sections to render all possible help to the reading public.
The Children's Section aims to foster the reading habit among the members of the younger generation. Children in the age group of 4 to 14 are admitted to this Section. More than 7,000 students of various schools make use of this section by enrolling as members. Books are selected according to the taste of the age groups, such as picture books, story books, travel, adventures, classic and books of elementary level. The Section works from 4.00 pm. to 7.00 pm. But on Saturdays and Sundays when schools have their weekly holidays and also during vacations this Section functions from 9.00 a.m. to 12.30 pm and 4.00 pm. to 7.00 pm.
The Rare Book section has a collection of about 15,000 old and rare books. Scholars from all parts of the country and even from the distant lands in the West visit this Library to carry on their research work with the aid of its rare collection. Unfortunately these rare books are very old and too brittle to handle. Hence the process for Micro-filming had been initiated to save them for posterity and the unit is now functional.
It also boasts of a mobile library service which has a collection of more than 8,000 books taken to the nearby villages by bus, in order to make the books more accessible to the common man. The library also houses some rare editions of books. They have an air conditioned reading room and an ordinary room where newspapers and magazines can be read. The reference section on the second floor is open to the general public.
Timings Daily: 9:00am - 12:30pm & 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Weekdays: 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Weekends: 9:00am - 12:30pm & 4:00pm - 7:00pm