Ample space and absence of bookshelves are the conspicuous features of British Council’s new office in India Bulls Centre at Lower Parel.
At its inaugural ceremony, well-heeled patrons acclimated to the rows of slick computers instead.
It was clearly a gathering of supporters of MyLibrary, the Council’s new online library service that was launched on February 1.
“In three weeks the service has more than 1,000 members. We’re already covering city limits and offering special incentives for our old patrons to return,” said Simon Gammell, Council’s director, West India.
While MyLibrary has replaced the physical one, it has made the Council’s collection accessible to the city with benefits such as 24-hour access, no time-bound rental on books and no late fee charge.
Until 1991 the Council had 28,000 members. Last year it dipped to 3,000.
“We realised that though Mumbai is a rapidly developing city it is still ransom to traffic, which is why MyLibrary was conceived. Instead of you coming to us, we bring the books to your doorstep,” said Ruth Gee, Council director, India and Sri Lanka.
To reinforce its 60-year-old agenda of promoting cultural ties between the UK and
India, the inaugural ceremony was preceded by an interactive session featuring Patrick McKenna, CEO of Ingenious Media, a leading investor in UK’s creative industries, and young Indian entrepreneurs representing the arts.
“They are a savvy lot, articulate and with good entrepreneurial instincts. We discussed new business models for the digital world,” said McKenna, a new member of the Council’s board of trustees.