Wisdens get the treatment

Less than two weeks after MiD DAY highlighted the pathetic state of the Dr HD Kanga Memorial Library, the Mumbai Cricket Association has taken steps towards improving things at the book temple housed at the Wankhede Stadium.

Wisden Cricketers’ Almanacks dating back to the 1880s in better condition at the Dr HD Kanga Memorial Library in Churchgate. PIC/Suresh KK

The Churchgate book hub is the largest sports library in Asia.It is learnt that the article that appeared on April 20 caused some level of alarm within the corridors of power.

The library’s secretary-treasurer Ranjit Kapadia met with a few members alongwith pest control experts last week to map the road ahead.  The pest control experts were at the library on Tuesday to begin the task of treating the infested Wisden Cricketers’ Almanacks and transferred them into a steel cupboard.

The Almanacks were previously stored in a wall cupboard. Considering around 300 books were damaged due to leakages, the risk of future leakage affecting the prestigious annuals is now negligible.

According to pest control personnel, the Wisdens were given “oil-based book preservation treatment.” Other books will be treated similarly.  Meanwhile, MiD DAY has received a big response to the story from cricket lovers and cricket libraries from England and Australia. People who run those prestigious libraries have offered to help put the Kanga Memorial back on track.

Australia’s celebrated cricket writer Mike Coward was sad to read about the library’s state. In an email message, he said: “23 years ago in Cricket Beyond the Bazaar (Coward’s famous book), I made a mention of the ‘sadly neglected collection of more than 6000 cricket books in the Dr H D Kanga Memorial Library beneath the Bombay Cricket Association offices.’ ”Overall, the library has a cleaner look about it and although there is plenty to be done, a start has been made.

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