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Something to read

Abraham Lincoln is famously reported to have walked several miles to borrow a book. Then, when a leaking roof damaged it, he is said to have chopped wood for a whole day to replace the book. Until now, most residents of Marol did not have much of an advantage over Lincoln when it came to borrowing books. They had to travel to the other end of town to access a library. Now there's help closer home, in the form of a public library set up by the Marol Education Academy and located on its first floor.

The library was inaugurated in October but hasn't evoked much response from the public mainly for lack of publicity. It isn't very large, just over 600 books. But readers looking for good reading material will be pleasantly surprised by the range of books.

Take a look at a selection of the authors on display: Ernest Heming-way, Leo Tolstoy, Stefan Zweig, Graham Greene, Mulk Raj Anand, Jane Austen, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Vikram Seth, R.K. Narayan. The titles are as impressive. They are an eclectic mix of classics, the latest serious fiction, and best-selling pulp. Examples: A Fourth Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, Cosmos by Carl Sagan, Coma by Robin Cook, Folktales from India by A.K. Ramanujam. For the excellent selection, thank the librarians of the British Library, the Asiatic Library and the J.B. Petit Library who were consulted before purchases were made. About Rs 50,000 has been spent on furniture and Rs 60,000 on books so far.

The library is open from 6pm to 9 pm Mondays to Saturdays. Books are issued from 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm. The admission fee is Rs 50. There is also a deposit of Rs 300 and an annual subscription of Rs 300 which can be paid in quarterly instalments. Books can be borrowed for a period of 14 days; the library should consider extending this to at least three weeks which is a reasonable time for completing a book. Once membership picks up, the library will be expanded and the membership fee may be reduced.

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