Sunday, October 30, 2011

MCubed Library, Bandra Membership: Rs.600 for 6 months.

 MCubed Library, Bandra Membership: Rs.600 for 6 months. Contact: 26411497

We visited a public library called Maharashtra Mitra Mandal the other day. We know what you’re going to think. But stop right there. This isn’t just any public library with dreary walls and dusty shelves, hard wooden chairs and mean-looking librarians. Here we found vibrant shelves packed with exciting books and funky mattresses adorning the floors. Vibha Kamath, Vaishali Shinde and Sonal Bimal have been working hard on giving this public library an attractive makeover (including changing its name to MCubed Library!). But how and why did they decide to go through all this trouble? It was actually one of Kamath’s nephews who was the driving force. Pushed by his library in the USA to take (and keep) an oath to read an x number of books, Neel (the nephew) pledged to read 20 one summer. He ended up reading a whopping 162! Kamath was stunned – both by her nephew’s reading habit and by the failure of our public libraries. She and her friends Shinde and Bimal decided they wanted to set up a library. After all, even if they were to encourage their children to read that many books – they’d have to buy them! After a long search (which began in 2007) they finally found the perfect spot in the bylanes of Bandra. The library was up and running by September 30 and now has a collection of some 4000 books (most of which have been donated to them!). Kamath, a French teacher, asked her class what books they read. “I was delighted to know we stocked them all!” she exclaimed. And I have to admit, they have quite a variety – from the Enid Blytons to the Meg Cabots, Treasure Island to Tintin (even a Nicholas Sparks shoved in for good measure)! The books are divided and colourcoded according to age groups. So you can just head to the shelf that stocks your colour and don’t necessarily have to browse through all the shelves. The bookshelves and cases are along the walls, which leaves a large seating area in the middle. Here’s where large triangular mattresses are stashed for you to park your bottom on all day long if you like. Weekend workshops have already begun – there’s been storytelling and creative writing in the past weeks – and are going to be a regular feature. A book club and a film club are in the pipeline too, so make sure you keep a lookout!

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