You may say that libraries are rare now, and even rarer are people who have library memberships. However, the stupendous cultural importance of libraries can never be denied or overlooked. If you are a book lover and happen to be in Mumbai, we’d say you are missing out on a lot if you haven’t been to some of the city’s best libraries.
Bookworms, Hit Up These Libraries In The City To Catch Up On Classics
Asiatic Library, Fort
Now over two centuries old, The Asiatic Library is a treasure trove of age old manuscripts, rare journals and historic magazines forgotten in the sands of time. Being a member here can mean that you suddenly stumble upon a really old newspaper belonging to eras gone by. The library is now in the process of preserving its old content by converting them to the digital form. This would make it even easier for more people to access, although it would not be the same without the Asiatic Library’s physical presence.
Membership Fees: INR 1,500 for the year; INR 15,000 for life
P.S: The most crucial thing while becoming a member is getting a referral from two existing members of the library, an address proof and a photo ID to complete the process.
Maharashtra Mitra Mandal Library, Bandra West
MCubed is more than just a library. While its commendable collection is respectable, what’s great to note are the reading rooms, discussion sessions and even a literature festival for its members, all of which encourage sharing of knowledge and intermingling of cultures. MCubed (pronounced em-kyoobed) was established in 1981 has a massive collection of Marathi literature, which happens to be its forte. It divides the collection between kids and adults, and is situated in Bandra.
Membership Fees: They offer three kinds of annual membership-Galaxy, which includes four books plus one magazine at a time borrowing for INR 2,200; Sun, which includes two books plus one magazine for INR 1,700; And if you do not like the yearly commitment, you can also opt for the Moon membership which is a six-monthly membership for INR 850, which lets you borrow one book and one magazine at a time
P.S: The library has a table out in the front, opposite to the reception with second-hand books up for grabs only for INR 20 each.
J.N Petit Library, Fort
The JN Petit Library and Reading Room has been there since 1856. Nestled in its imperial building in Fort, it exudes an aura that is a sheer experience in itself. The library has a separate room dedicated to really old and rare copies, manuscripts and journals, which is possibly its greatest strength and USP. Adding to that are the ambience and the massive, massive collection of bookings amounting for over 150,000 copies!
Membership Fees: Annual membership will cost you INR 1,000 where you’re allowed to take three books for a fortnight and two magazines at a time for a week.
P.S: They regularly update their collections and have books that suit every kind of a reader. So if you're looking for new stock, be assured that you will find it here.
Trilogy Library and Book Store, Bandra
Trilogy is a brilliantly-curated library for books in Bandra, and plot twist: it also plays a double role as a bookshop. There are rows upon rows of books in every genre and the owners are welcoming enough to show you around, and ask you about your tastes and preferences and recommend books based on that.
Membership Fees: INR 500 for three months and INR 1,000 for six months. The lifetime membership is INR 1,500 out of which the deposit of INR 1,000 is refundable and INR 500 serves as the pass.
P.S: They have a children’s section, as well as a library for adults with a massive fantasy genre section for those who find reality too boring.
People’s Free Reading and Library, Marine Lines
Yet another century-old library in SoBo, this place has a great collection of publications from the British Rule era of India. It also has a dedicated section for students and offer then subsidised memberships, and its reading rooms are almost always full and there’s a vibrant aura of excitement in the air.
Membership Fees: The lifetime membership costs INR 1,500 out of which INR 1,000 is refundable.
P.S: There’s even a separate newspaper reading section if you're interested in catching up on news in a peaceful environment.
David Sassoon Library, Fort
David Sassoon Library and Reading Room is one of the oldest heritage libraries in the city. With the introduction of new facilities such as WiFi, e-learning and e-book readers, most of us can spend some time here gathering knowledge of all things unknown.
Membership Fees: You pay INR 1,700 for a year and that's pretty affordable considering the vast collection they have.
P.S: You can also spend your time browsing on the vintage deck chairs in the reading room’s balcony.