Miller Library 150 years
The College Library was founded in the college in 1863, just a year after Miller arrived. This facility was upgraded as a Consulting Library in 1869, containing dictionaries, atlases, commentaries and books of Reference of every branch of knowledge. This was open for the students of the college for one hour before the commencement and two hours after the college was closed. In 1870 about 200 students had free access to the General Library, and over a thousand books were borrowed in a year. It was so efficiently managed that not a single volume was found missing. In 1871, Mrs Margaret Gunn of Latheron, Scotland endowed the Library with a sum of 1000 Pounds in memory of her husband Donald Gunn who died in 1869. The interest of this sum was made available for the maintenance of the Library. The Hunter Commission on Education in 1882 gave a high commendation to the richness of the Library, along with that of the Presidency College.
The system of Class Libraries was introduced in 1886, pertaining to the departments of Mathematics, Physical Science, Natural Science, Mental and Moral Science. There were more than 100 volumes in each of these class libraries.Miller himself had a fine library for himself which he subsequently donated to the college. A consulting Library was also started with a gift of books from Messrs Blackie & Co., Special class libraries were also started, along with an exclusive one for MA students. Interestingly, Professors acted as Librarians in turn. Professor Laidlaw as the Librarian in 1892 printed the catalogue; Professor Kellett in the following year, procured several volumes as gifts from prestigious publication houses and individuals, which included the Cambridge University Press, the Clarendon Press; Professor Max Muller himself donated a splendid new edition of his commentary of Rg Veda.
A Reading room where more magazines and periodicals were placed, was opened in 1896. For the first time a full time official—the Assistant Librarian—P.Rama Aiyar was appointed in 1904. The Library for the Institution’s school was bifurcated with 800 volumes in the year 1909, as until then the Library was also used by the school students of higher classes. After the introduction of the Honours courses in 1911, there were many significant changes, one of which was opening the Library during night times between 7 and 9 pm. The College Hall was fitted with electric lights and fans for this purpose, even as most students of the college did not enjoy such a luxury. The Library facilities gradually increased thereafter, and by 1920 there were more than 7200 volumes stacked in the General Library.
The Library on Tambaram Campus
When the college was relocated in Tambaram campus, the first building to be inaugurated by the Governor Lord Erskine, on January 30, 1937, was the Miller Memorial Library. The very fact that it was named after the illustrious Principal kindled generous response in scores of alumni to contribute to the building fund. The next 50 years it was located in the present Examination Hall, with its first floor being used as a Reference section.
The Miller Memorial Library celebrated its Centenary in December, 1963, with S.R. Ranganathan, an alumnus and the father of Library movement in India.
Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi inaugurates the new buildings
On the occasion of the 150 years celebrations, the Miller memorial Library was inaugurated in the present premises by the then Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi on 1987.
Although the college archival section was formally inaugurated during the time of Dr Mithra G. Augustine, the college always was in the process of collecting and storing all important documents and records such as the minutes of the Governing Board and the Senatus, the Annual Reports, the College Calendar and the MCC Magazine.
Madras Christian College Magazine
Founded in July 1883, Madras Christian College Magazine was destined to play a seminal role in the academic world for several decades. Miller explained its objective in the introductory number as follows: To awaken thought among the class upon whom the future must depend, is the first object at which this Magazine will aim. The second aim was to afford them a means of saying all they thought.
The first editor of the Magazine was George Patterson, Professor of History, and the first number appeared in July 1883 with sixty pages. The annual subscription for the faculty and the outsiders was ₹ 5/- It was ₹ 3-8-0 for the Alumni and bonafide students of the college. All subscriptions were to be paid in advance. The English rate including postage was ten shilling per annum. Though the Magazine bore the name of the college, it had devoted only a little space to the college matters. The Magazine started to flourish almost immediately. Within just one year of its existence, it seemed to have had a larger circulation than any other Magazine or Review published in India.
Miller chose the motto: They are slaves who dare not be; in the right with two or three. True to this spirit, the Magazine displayed extraordinary courage right from the beginning to stand by and to publish what is right, and also to confront what it perceived to be untruth or deviation from truth. A cursory glance at the early volumes reveal the high academic standard and the diversity of material published. The articles covered a diverse range of issues: religious, philosophical, psychological, historical, literary. William Miller continued to write until his death in 1923.
Many eminent Professors of Tamil in the college such as V.G. Suryanarayana Sastri, R.S.Vedachalam, S.D.Sargunar etc., had used the College Magazine as a forum to propagate the greatness of Tamil Language and Literature, which was well documented by Tamil scholars down the decades. Also, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan has published an article in 1908 when was the student of the Philosophy Department.
Mrs Krupabai Satthianathan’s An Indian Lady Saguna: A Story of Native Christian Life was serialized in MCCM (1888-89), which was the first Autobiographical novel in English by an Indian woman. It poignantly narrated the conversion of her parents to Christianity, and her own early life. She followed it up with another brilliant piece Kamala: A Story of Hindu Wife (1892-93, and 1893-94).
The Magazine published 37 Volumes, month after month, from July 1883 until June 1920, and from then on Quarterly series began until October 1931. A New Series continued until November 1968, and from its 39th Volume it became an annual publication.
Library Information Profile
The Miller Memorial Library (MML) has achieved its vision of creation and dissemination of knowledge through ICT Which in turn endeavors and empowers faculty and students to achieve excellence in the knowledge paradigm of the country. The Books in our library are in the process of getting barcoded for automated circulation. Apart from library automation, MML acquired access to many online databases through subscription. It is using DSpace for managing the digital contents.