Country’s first street library was opened in the Karachi which was inaugurated by Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah on 25th Dec to pay tribute to the country’s founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah on his 143rd birth anniversary in the presence of officials, diplomats and book lovers.
Renowned authors including Gazi Salahuddin, Rumana Husain and Muneeza Shamsie who attended the ceremony appreciated the initiative.
The street library is a project by the Commissioner Karachi Office to make reading an essential part of the city culture. It encourages people to take, share and give books all for free.
The street library has a collection of some 600 book in English and Urdu ,fiction and non-fiction covering literature, science and other areas, with more to be added.
Karachi commissioner Iftikhar Ali Shallwani told media that “The idea behind Pakistan’s first street library is to promote the culture of reading so that our young generation will learn to value books,”
He further added that “We are reviving the habit of reading in this digital age because Google can give you information, but not knowledge”. It is based on the ‘take a book, leave a book’ concept which is very common in European countries such as Germany and Austria where you will find people reading on the trains even in the cafés. The library is an attempt to foster the love of reading.
There is no member of staff or librarian because the city administration wants the people to own the library. However, there is a guard for security reasons.
One of compelling features of the project are the walls surrounding the street library, which are decorated with portraits of Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, his sister Fatima Jinnah, poet Allama Iqbal, first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan as well as some of the country’s major landmarks.
There are also benches outside the library for those who wish to take a break from their busy routines and read on the spot.