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The library's beginnings go back to 1860, when Captain Jesse Mitchell set up a small library as part of the Madras Museum[2] in Madras, capital of the Madras Presidency in the British Indian Empire. Hundreds of books had been found to be surplus in the libraries of Haileybury College (where civil servants of the Indian Civil Service were trained in Hertford Heath, Hertfordshire) and these were sent to the Madras Government, which in turn handed them over to the Madras Museum. Conceived on the lines of the British Museum Library, it was part of the Madras Museum until 1890, when the need for a free public library prompted the then Governor of Madras, Lord Connemara, to lay the foundation on 22 March 1890.[3] It opened in 1896 and was named after Lord Connemara (by then the former Governor), an Anglo-Irish nobleman. The library was indeed essentially free: A small deposit had to be paid but this was refundable. It became the state central library in 1948,[2] with the enactment of Madras Public Libraries Act 1948, which was the first concerted effort in India to institutionalise, structure, otherwise, co-ordinate and organise public library services. This is one of the Asia's largest libraries.[4] d2c66b5586


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