The longing for a library their kids could bond over, a chit-chat over casual evening walks and putting thoughts to action, have resulted in three friends bringing to Bandra its first public library.
The library, which opened its doors to the public on Friday, September 30, will kick off with the children’s section stocked with over 3,000 books, and eventually expand its facilities to adults.
Forty-seven-year-old Vibha Kamath, a French teacher and a mother of two, was first struck by the idea of opening a library in her neighbourhood after a visit to her sister in the US in 2004. Her nephew, she noticed, was a voracious reader at just six years old. On asking, she was told that the easy availability of children’s literature in the local public library was the reason behind the boy’s reading appetite.
After returning, Kamath scouted for places to start a library, but Mumbai’s ever-increasing real estate prices kept her from realising her dream. In the meantime, Kamath’s day job as a French teacher got busier and her reverie got relegated to the recesses of her priority list.
In 2006, one balmy evening, while Kamath was out on her regular evening walk with a couple of friends, she noticed a huge nondescript space that read Maharashtra Mitra Mandal Library. The almost non-functional municipal library seemed like the perfect conduit to revive Kamath’s desire. She took down the phone number on the nameplate and made a call. But the venture didn’t work out, yet again.
In November 2010, egged on by her mother, Kamath decided that her dream deserved at least another try. She found an enthusiastic friend and supporter in Vaishali Shinde, 41, and the both of them decided to call the committee managing the library, one more time.
Within eight months, they had made their pitch, met with mandal officials and signed up to maintain the library for a period of two years. By July 12 this year, their friend Sonal Bimal, 41, also hopped on board to help manage the library. The trio immediately started work on getting the library up and running and sent out emails to friends and family seeking donations—both, funds and/or books.
Since then, the library has received Rs3 lakh, three thousand books, furniture and furnishings, a computer and software, mattresses, a water filter and even a home theatre system.
Located next to Bandra Gymkhana on the quiet D’Monte Park Road, the library is housed on the ground floor of Princess Building.