Enough has been said about Asiatic Library. The classic idea of libraries with high ceilings and dusty tomes still evokes pretty images, but the truth is that such epic libraries have in fact been left alone to academics today. Most readers have their kindles poised to receive the latest e-books.
So is the library an outdated concept like typewriters and telegrams?
That is not the impression we get when we consider the good response that has been received by Invisible Libraries launched by Yoda Press last year.
It’s a dreamy ode to reading, narrated through fictions and myths woven by some of the best Indian writers (and readers) today.
In defence of libraries, consider these words from The Library at Night, the ultimate tome dedicated to these magical places:
“In the dark, with the windows lit and the rows of books glittering, the library is a closed space, a universe of self-serving rules that pretend to replace or translate those of the shapeless universe beyond.”
There is hope, and it’s in a form that breaks away from old-school libraries yet embraces technology without succumbing to a complete rejection of the printed page.
Get lost in these contemporary libraries…
1. Trilogy, Mumbai
It’s got two great creative minds behind it who’ve taken the care to curate the selection.
This first-floor library in Lower Parel offers membership plans starting at Rs 300 a month, and a late fee of Rs 10 a day that evokes a good kind of nostalgia.
It makes us want to read! Ah yes, and they host the photography special Bind Library as well.
2. Leaping Windows, Mumbai
All comic book fans need only to head to this double-storey cosy cafe cum comic library in Versova. Here you will find enough graphic novels to put Andheri traffic out of your mind. And good sandwiches.
3. Literati, Goa
Literati has received a fair share of publicity and for good reason too.
Come season time in Goa, this place is alive with curious readers who make the trip just to chill in the in-house Italian cafe with a book. It’s a bookshop really, but no will kick you out if you just keep reading.
4. JustBooks, Bangalore
A networked library chain that delivers books home – trust Bangalore to be the first to get here.
Over a million books to choose from, delivered home for an additional charge of Rs 25, all with a click.
Or, you could land up at the kiosk in one of the branches and get the book after a leisurely browse.
5. LAMO, Leh
I wouldn’t call it the most extensive library in town, but the setting is too good to skip.
As part of Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation’s restoration project, they converted an old Ladakhi building into this spacious, sunny library with a 180-degree view of Leh.
There is a decent collection of Ladakh-focussed literature to pass time with.
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