“If a Business school is a shaolin temple, the library is truly the sparring room” – Anonymous

How many of us have enrolled in a library out of sheer desire to read? Hardly any! Reading as a habit has vanished into the oblivion thanks to lower attention spans and better avenues of recreation. And we take this vice right into our Business school. For example, I lost my voracious appetite for reading when I was 18. Reading today is a major differentiator between the good and outstanding, because it shows through in your overall personality and intellect! And this vice results in non-utilization of the institute’s most important infrastructure – The Library!

An ocean of learning resources

The IIMs own the best digital libraries and a vast collection of books – academic and non-academic alike. A typical library will have a wide-range of print-volumes of various books, e-books, subscription to the best journals in each area of specialization from the best schools such as Harvard Business School, Wharton, MIT, Stanford, access to various databases such as CRISIL, The Economist, Euromonitor to name a few and a collection of audio & video on DVDs. Some IIMs also have integrated their network with other libraries in the continent that makes an entire network of digital libraries accessible (much like the one of a kind Greenstone Library of IIMK). With these digital libraries one can access any edition of any newspaper published across the world. With a 24×7 access from anywhere in the campus, this sort of infrastructure is more than enough for a management student, even the lazy ones to make the most of.

(The above pictures are pictures of libraries of IIMs ALIBKC,XLRI,SPJIMR)

The state..

Remember the line that the librarian in the movie Lage Raho Munnabhai says to Sanjay Dutt, “Bade dino baad koi is yahan aaya hai”? –That would perhaps indicate the general interest in libraries. As is the trend across schools, most students throng libraries before submissions and quizzes , work on projects which are to be submitted the next day (last-minute work is the mantra!). I’ve known people asking those few users of the digital libraries during their last project during their MBA about how to browse a particular database. Couples throng the halls in order to have some private time to chit-chat. Library is also an arena for studious and opportunistic seniors to make their first appearance after not visiting the entire first year as they would silently glide in and ‘accidently’ run into junior females to end up tutoring them to glory. I’ve known students who would claim with inflated chests of never having set foot into the institute library. Some even put up status messages on Google/Facebook claiming that it is their first visit to the library ever. The ones who do go the library are branded ‘watchmen of libraries’ and numerous jokes are cracked at their expense.

Trust me, the library is a wonderful place to be in. It has the best ambience for learning and assimilating information, not the mention that it is the single largest collection of knowledge in an institute. I, for one, have never been disappointed whenever I’ve turned to the library for searching on information for my assignments, projects, competitions (a big help!) and any sort of casual reading. I cannot count how many times I get a buzz on GTalk from seniors requesting for sector reports to be downloaded from the institute library for their next job-interview.Every time I’ve been benefited by our institute library, I’ve come to think of one thing – Why do people pay lakhs of hard-earned money on MBA and end up not even setting foot into their institute library to utilize it for their growth? Utter blasphemy!

If you are joining an IIM and want to extract the maximum value for the fees you pay, just go and use that library so frequently that you become a good friend of the librarian. Perhaps that is when you can truly say that you have made the best of your time at an IIM.

– Charan Iyengar

(The author is an alumnus of IIM Kozhikode – Class of 2011 and has worked as a Technology analyst at HSBC and JPMorgan in the past. He is a consultant with Wipro Consulting Services)

Charan Iyengar

The writer is an alumnus of IIM Kozhikode - Class of 2011 and has worked as a Technology analyst at HSBC and JPMorgan in the past. He would be a consultant with Wipro Consulting Services



Anil Kumar

True, libraries at IIMs are an extremely underutilized resource..The magazines and journals that come to the libraries are unmatched..However i think students as well as the PGP program people share the blame equally for the under utilization of libraries.. on one hand most of the cases or projects do not need much of library type research and secondly because of the packed schedule whenever students get time they think of investing in other activities rather than going to the library..

I think most of the IIMs have so much freedom engraved in the hostels that at least couples don't have to go to library to have some private time..I mean come on it’s not an engineering college library that you see people trying to get some private time in a library…at least it’s not the case at Indore

To increase the foot fall and for better use of the digital databases, the professors should give such projects that require using these data bases..However, this culture has to be cultivated into main stream academics..It is something which cannot happen just develop on its own..

Charan Iyengar

@Anil Kumar, The PGP Program could be blamed along with the students, however the point being we would like students to take some initiative. This is also not the first time anything is used for the wrong reasons. The freedom of B-schools hostels is never in question. It is just that libraries look a different place because couples end up studying together and end up doing chit-chat basically spoiling the ambiance of the place.

In IIMK, there are enough projects and competitions that require a healthy use of the databases.Even a little use of library resources actually differentiates your work from anyone else. However it is a choice we make – the easy choice or the right choice.

Manish Parmar

@Anil Kumar, I think you are right when you say that it is the choice of the student to use the library for any kind of project irrespective of whether it involves deliberate thrust from the faculties or not. If one goes to the library and tries to research any topic, she is most likely to get some unique insight about the topic. Especially if one is participating in any competition, the insights derived from library search definitely provides a unique edge!