Synopsis

Book reading facility offered as ‘gift’ to people of federal capital

Smart libraries

The basic aim of this library is to facilitate the citizens who like reading. Image: Mian Khursheed

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ISLAMABAD: A number of ‘Smart City Libraries’ have been launched in various parts of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) by the corporate sector in collaboration with the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

They are open for all and no formal membership is required to get books sanctioned for reading.

Anyone can collect a book from here and donate books for it as well. ‘We trust on you’ is the motto of the libraries which have proper lighting systems, racks and other formalities which are required to run a library.

One of the reading spaces has been set up at Kohsar Market and currently there are around 100 books here. Some of them are in Urdu and a few of them are in English.

The basic aim of this library is to facilitate the citizens who like reading. Some guidelines have also been provided at the library for taking books from it.

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Select a book and provide information about the book along with your contact details. Return the books in due time — this is the brief guideline which has been written on a paper and glued on the side rack of the library.

Ahmad Salman Anees, a spokesperson for Earthlink Developers, told Bol News that feedback with regard to the smart libraries has been phenomenal so far.

He added people not only lauded this project but they also made their contribution towards it by donating books.

He further said currently three libraries have already been installed in different places in Islamabad including one each at Kohsar Market, F6 Markaz and Gol Market, F7/3. “One more such library would also be set up at F7 Markaz within the next 10 to 15 days.”

According to Mr Anees, this initiative was launched in September last year and it was also replicated in Rawalpindi. “Smart libraries in the ICT were sponsored by Earthlink Developers based in Bahria Town Rawalpindi while the library in Rawalpindi situated at Murree Road, Moti Mahal Cinema was sponsored by AAA Associates.”

He said that every smart library holds around 100 to 120 books which cover a variety of topics including Urdu and English literature, autobiographies and history. “This has been an incredible experience that people visit the library, make entries of books in the register and they also return the book as well.”

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Mr Anees claimed there has been some issues of returning of books which pertain to children as no entries are made in the register in this connection and books are also not returned as much as is expected. However, overall matters are running reasonably well, the spokesperson confirmed.

“Shafaq Hashmi, former metropolitan officer of Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation has been very kind … in materialising this initiative. The metropolitan officer allowed permission from CDA for it. However, there are issues when it comes to district administration of Islamabad. I made several attempts to contact the Islamabad deputy commissioner but in vain to get support in this reference.”

He also said formal inauguration of this project has not been done yet. “I am planning to [have] it formally inaugurated by Asad Umar or Shafqat Mahmood soon. This is a very good initiative keeping in view … interaction of citizens especially the youth. Keeping in view the higher literacy rate in Islamabad, this initiative provides opportunities to interact with books which is a very positive habit by all means.”

The opening of smart libraries in other cities like Faisalabad and Lahore is also on the cards, he concluded.

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