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Neglected Kanga library gets Rs 25 lakh boost from MCA

Three years ago, this newspaper set the alarm bells ringing about the HD Kanga Memorial Library — Asia's largest and city's only sports library — being in a state of shambles.

Dr Khanvilkar
MCA's Joint Honorary Secretary, Dr Unmesh Khanvilkar

In an editorial piece it also appealed to the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), the caretakers of the 66-year-old library, to act "soon" in order to save the precious books. Though the action from the MCA may have not been significant, this newspaper is happy to report that some initiative is visible now.

Recently, the MCA's Managing Committee approved R25 lakh to be spent towards the revamping of the Kanga library. MCA's Joint Honorary Secretary, Dr Unmesh Khanvilkar, who is leading the initiative to restore the library, revealed his plans to mid-day: "There are around 13,000 books out of which 10 are rare ones. They are over 100 years old. Their condition is quite poor and these books require specialised treatment to avoid further deterioration of the pages. These books have been put on a priority list in the restoration process."

Dr HD Kanga Memorial Library shifted to Wankhede Stadium's basement where some books are also kept in bags. Pic/Atul Kamble
Dr HD Kanga Memorial Library shifted to Wankhede Stadium's basement where some books are also kept in bags. Pic/Atul Kamble

Digitalised library
The library will also be partly digitalised. "We will have a software in place. Every book will be bar-coded which will resolve the problem of unreturned books. The software will also help locate the books within the library," said Khanvilkar.

The young administrator said the MCA would introduce Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), a system to help maintain books according to their genre. "There is a vast spectrum of books in every sport. DDC will help in classifying the books by their subjects like autobiography, coaching manual etc," informed Khanvilkar. The library is currently housed in the basement of the Wankhede Stadium. It is operational only from 3 to 7pm.

mid-day's report on Kanga library published on April 20, 2013
mid-day's report on Kanga library published on April 20, 2013

"The library will move to the new building which is coming up next to the Garware Club in two years. The new set-up will have a full-time librarian, who can properly maintain the library. It will also be open from 10am till evening," Khanvilkar concluded.

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