Started by Alka Tejuja and her mother on June 17, 1989 – the library was just a hobby at first, catering to the retired army officers and families that lived in Salunkhe Vihar. In 2004, the library shifted from within Salunkhe Vihar Society, to a shop across the road – which is where it has stayed ever since. The library is small but fully stocked (with approximately 18,000 books in English, Hindi, and Marathi) – from their ground floor to their loft. Incidentally, the loft also doubles as their kids’ section, and also a xerox/lamination/spiral binding/courier service counter (open to all).
The kids’ section is divided into toddlers, kids, preteens; we found books here that we haven’t seen since our own childhood days – which was really heartwarming. Other (adult) sections include self-help, travel, cookery, management, health, spiritual, interior design, fiction, romance, etc. Friends Library even has a nice collection of comics and graphic novels; ranging from Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle, Archie, Asterix and Obelix, and even Agatha Christie! There’s always a library helper on hand, to help with a selection of the books or magazines – so don’t fret about all the choices you’ll have. We love the variety available here for all ages, especially for kids.
Friends Library has about 2000 members currently, and basic membership starts at INR 300 per month (with a refundable security deposit of INR 600). The charges are flexible (in that if you want to borrow more than just one book a week) and can go up to INR 450 per month. You’ll even get your very own library card! Bonus points: Friends Library also takes care of three adorable stray dogs, whom you’ll often find snoozing among the books!