This monsoon, give our city's books some cover

Jul 02, 2013, 00:48 IST | Soma Das

Mumbai is home to several libraries that house rare, invaluable books that have survived centuries. However many are in poor shape. In what might come as good news for the city's book lovers, one can actually help to preserve these titles by adopting them, and increasing their longevity. Soma Das tells you how to save a book

Asiatic Library
The over 200-year-old Asiatic Library has introduced an adopt-a-book scheme which allows patrons to fund the preservation and restoration of rare books. Their repertoire includes priceless ancient manuscripts and rare books in languages such as Persian, Sanskrit and Prakrit. They conduct conservation; microfilming and digitisation of books and you need to pay Rs 7,000 to adopt a book. During the preservation process they treat the books by putting them through a chemical solution that removes the reddish tinge on the pages. You can choose books based on the subject and the period. The brittle pages are then joined together. Donations are notified and the person is given a certificate and the donations are exempted under the Income Tax act.

Upendra Thanawala
Upendra Thanawala as Mahatma Gandhi paying homege to the Father of the Nation against the backdrop of the library at Mani Bhavan. File Pic

How can you help? Pay Rs 7,000 to adopt a book
At: Town Hall, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Fort.
Call: 22660956
Time: Mon-Sat (10 am-5 pm)

BNHS library
The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) is undertaking the task of restoring 200 rare books and is welcoming funding. Librarian Nirmala Barure says that they restored 10 books in 2012 and 25 books in 2013. They have also got certain grants from the National Archives of India (NAI) and they also have certain corporate grants. You can support by procuring one or more books from their requisition list or help them restore rare books by contributing the cost of restoration. The amount donated can also be used for purchasing required furniture and equipment. The donor will be acknowledged and the amount donated will be exempted under 80G Income Tax Act.

The BNHS’ library is home to rare books on India and the world’s flora and fauna. Pics/  Bipin Kokate

How can you help? Sponsor one or more books from their list, help restore books, furniture and equipment
At: Bombay Natural History Society, Hornbill House, Dr Salim Ali Chowk, Fort.
Call: 22876279
Email: /
Time: Mon-Fri (9.30 am to 5.30 pm)

Mani Bhavan
The Mani Bhavan Adopt-a-Book scheme allows book lovers to propagate Gandhiji’s philosophy and ideals. You can contribute by making a donation or giving a gift on occasions like Gandhi Jayanti, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, in memory of a loved one and any special occasion. The primary aim of the Adopt-a-Book scheme is to encourage donor support for Mani Bhavan’s conservation efforts and to ensure that books in its library survive and continue to be available to future generations. The Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya Library offers books for adoption including rare and classic titles such as The Indian Problem in South Africa (1925), The Truth About Gandhi (1940) and Mahatma Gandhi-His Life, Writing & Speeches (1921). All donations are exempt under the Income-Tax Act.

Captain James Cook’s Voyages to the South Pole and round the World (1777) is at the Asiatic Library

How can you help? Make a donation to preserve its library 
At: Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya, 19 Laburnum Road, Gamdevi.
Call: 23805864
Time: Daily (9.30 am to 6 pm)

Did you know?
The library at KR Cama Oriental Institute has a collection of manuscripts and books pertaining to Oriental studies, which are being restored by the institute through the paper conversation section of INTACH, Bhubaneswar. For the last nine years, they have been running a paper conservation laboratory setup in their library where experts work on conserving the materials. While they don’t have an adopt-a-book scheme, they have been funded by several trusts, from India and abroad for this project.

KR Cama Oriental Institute

At:  136, Bombay Samachar Marg, Kala Ghoda. 
Call: 22843893. 
Time: Mon-Fri (10 am to 6 pm), Sat (10 am-1 pm)

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