When Zahra Vakil suggested public adoption of worn-out books at Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya Library at Mani Bhavan, where the Mahatma had stayed during his Mumbai visit, and their digitisation for preservation, she probably didn’t anticipate the overwhelming response it would get.
Within just eight months after the initiative — Adopt a book at Mani Bhavan and make a difference — was launched on October 2, 2011, 84 books were adopted. The library has around 40,000 reference books, of which 50 are over a 100 years old.
Zahra was taken aback by the condition of many books at the library while she was doing research on a school sociology project two years ago. “Most were in a bad shape. So, I floated the idea of ‘adopting’ a book before the board of Mani Bhavan,” says the 18-year-old student. The board immediately warmed up to it. Word of mouth publicity roped in the crowds.
Donations ranged from Rs5,000 to Rs25,000.