THE 150-YEAR-OLD David Sassoon Library and Reading Room is all set to celebrate its Foundation Day on February 21. The iconic library has organised a week-long celebration, hosting several programmes, skits, talks and plays highlighting social issues.
The week-long celebration began on February 15 and is open to public. Some of the events include a play highlighting the devastating effects of narcotics by Dr Rajesh Sakhare, a lecture on the evolution of forensics in crime investigation by Rashmi Oza, head of law department in the University of Mumbai.
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A musical concert, a flute recital programme and poetry narrations in both Gujarati and Marathi are on the cards too. The programmes will be live streamed on the library’s Facebook page.
The Gothic-style Grade I heritage structure at the heart of Kala Ghoda square, boasts of more than 70,000 books — a point of attraction for readers across the city. Currently, there are 3,000 members – 2,500 life members and 500 ordinary ones. “The library is fully-digitised and the books have been catalogued on our website, which makes it easy for the readers to search and register for their preferred literary works online. We will also be setting up a kiosk to ease the procedure of seeking books,” said Hemant Bhalekar, president of the library’s managing committee.
Bhalekar said carrying out repair work in the library was a priority. “We have received around Rs28 lakh from the Kala Ghoda Association [for the repairs]. We shall have to secure special permissions from the heritage department. The process for which has been initiated,” said Bhalekar. The library came to being when a Jewish banker named David Sassoon sowed the seeds for a reading room in the Esplanade in 1862, around the time when Fort George of Bombay was demolished. To commemorate the contributions of the founder, a film on David Sassoon will be played during the week.