Puducherry holds enlightenment of the mind and spirit at its heart, a principle upheld by the Romain Rolland Library. Opened by Desbassyns de Richemont on May 16, 1827, the library was located near Ateliers des Ponts-et-Chaussees but was later shifted to Rue des Capucins (Romain Rolland Street). In fact, it is one of the oldest libraries in the country. To begin with, only Europeans could visit the library but a decade after it was opened, Indians could also use it so that they could gain knowledge of the French language. An archives section was added to the library as an adjunct in 1852. The library was renamed Romain Rolland Library on the birth centenary of the French scholar Romain Rolland and shifted to its present site. At present, the library has over three lakh volumes of books in English and French. It also runs a mobile library service wherein a collection of over 8,000 books are taken to the nearby towns and villages to make the written word easily accessible to everyone.

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