In the hustle and bustle of the city, all that the book-lover in each one of us would really want would be to settle down in a rustic library and devour words that spill into pages and volumes. Can such places really be found in the digital-driven city of Bombay? Well, these public libraries in Mumbai may be all you really need to satisfy your love for books.
Asiatic Library, Fort: one of the oldest public libraries in Mumbai
Reminiscing the yesteryears of Mumbai city or Bombay as it was formerly known, is Asiatic Library, also known as Asiatic Society. One of the oldest and certainly the best, this gothic library holds deep-hidden secrets of the city's past. Journals that are dated decades ago, papers that have turned yellow with the years and original collections of works by some of the greatest of our times: these encompass the magic that the Asiatic Society holds. Truly one of the best public libraries in Mumbai.
Membership fees: INR 1,500 for a year. INR 15,000 for a lifetime membership.
Where: Town Hall, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road Horniman Circle, near RBI, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400023
Moving on from the Asiatic Society to a more city-style area in Mumbai. Those who have been lucky enough to experience the charms of the city will swear by Bandra being one of the absolute must-visit spots to have a true taste of Mumbai. But in the midst of the streets filled with night clubs and bars, you will find a quaint library filled with volumes of marvel. This library has got it all; the fiction, non-fiction, kids storybooks, fantasy novels, manuscripts, everything to give the book lover in you a great time.
Membership fees: INR 300 for a monthly membership.
Where: 1 Carter Road, Chimbai Rd, behind BMC Pump House, near Joggers' Park, Koliwada, Bandra West, W, Maharashtra 400050
British Council Library, India Bulls: one of the most elite public libraries in Mumbai
When mentioning public libraries in Mumbai, it is impossible to give the British Council Library a miss. This public library is one of the most renowned when it comes to English literature and what is more, is that along with this collection of books, a reader has access to various documentaries and theatre material! Check it out!
Membership fee: INR 1,800 for a year.
Where: British Council Library, 901, 9th Floor, Tower 1, One Indiabulls Centre, 841, Senapati Bapat Marg, Elphinstone Road
J.N Petit Library, Fort
One of the most charming public libraries in Mumbai that is sprawling with books! The J.N. Petit Library has within its walls some of the oldest copies of books that you would not be able to find anywhere else in the city, perhaps. If you are looking for manuscripts that date back to the 19th century or a book that no one seems to have heard about, it is highly likely that you will find it here.
Membership fee: INR 1000 for a year.
Where: 312, Dr Dadabhai Naoroji Rd, Azad Maidan, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
David Sassoon Library, Kala Ghoda
Just when you thought Kala Ghoda couldn't have gotten any more magical than it already is, you stumble upon a public library that is in the heart of this enchanting area in Mumbai city. The David Sassoon Library is gothic, spacious, filled with books and journals and will give you goosebumps as you experience its mesmerising beauty. It is just like one of those libraries depicted in fantasy fiction, except that this is very much real!
You can come to this reading room and read books in various regional languages too if you like. Should you need a breather, there is a garden that overlooks Kala Ghoda. Catch up on your book with a cuppa tea!
Membership fee: INR 4000 for a year.
Where: 152, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Off David Sassoon, Library Marg, opposite Jehangir Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
NCPA Reference Library, Nariman Point: one of the fanciest public libraries in Mumbai
Acclaimed all over India, the NCPA Mumbai Library has all that you need to pleasure the artsy side of you. With volumes written on art, photography, theatre, fashion, films, painting, sculpture, architecture and more, this stands out among the other public libraries in Mumbai for its sheer brilliance. It is like a thousand brilliant minds fitted into one space. Whether you need research material for a project or you are simply browsing through books to help you in the real world, rest assured you can find it here.
Membership fee: INR 7,500 for a year.
Where: NCPA Library, NCPA, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point
People's Free Reading And Library, Marine Lines
In the times of British rule in India, a public library was a common phenomenon. It was similar to a reading room where intellectuals gathered and discussed ideas, and revolutions were birthed. Today, the city of Mumbai sees a dearth of these spaces. But as they say, one book is enough to create ripples. Come to the People's Reading And Mumbai Library in Marine Lines and find like-minded people who believe in the magic of books. It is never too late to start a book club of your own or a reading session, perhaps.
Membership fee: 1,500 for a lifetime membership.
Where: Opp. Metro INOX cinemas, JSS Road, Marine Lines, Mumbai.
Maharashtra Mitra Mandal Library, Bandra West
A paradise for kids, this public library will get even adults lost in the fantasy world of fiction. Whether you are looking for Dr Seuss books or maybe some Nancy Drew mystery work, you can spend hours simply deciding on the right book!
Membership fee: INR 850 for a six-month membership.
Where: Princess Building, Ground floor, D Monte Park Road, Bandra West, Mumbai.
Leaping Windows, Andheri
Well, this is not your usual public library, but it is as close as it can get. The amazing part, what we personally loved about the Leaping Windows cafe is that while reading your favourite comics and fiction, you can binge on some fries or maybe cheesy nachos! You take your pick.
Membership fee: You will only be paying for the food you order!
Where: 3 Corner View, which is off Yari Road, opposite the Bianca Towers in Versova at Andheri West, Mumbai.
The American Library, BKC
Stop by for your dose of everything American! If you have always been a passionate enthusiast about American history (we all are!), this is your safe space, your escape zone. Binge on periodicals, literature, fiction, manuscripts, journals and well, all that you can get your hands on!
Where: American Consulate in Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai
What is your plan this weekend?
Why don't you let nostalgia kick-in as you visit one of these libraries and settle down with a really good book!