Ramzan Qadir

Islamabad - Islamabad Public Library lacks all basic attributes of a modern library.

Before 1970 it was situated in Karachi and was shifted to Islamabad when the latter got the status of the federal capital.

“Before acquiring a proper building in H-9 sector, the library had no proper infrastructure. We had to shift the library many times,” said Iqrar Hussain Sheikh, in-charge Islamabad Public Library. “After a tedious struggle we were able to get the present building, as the library remained without its own building for some 44 years. After shifting from Karachi, the library was set up at Embassy Road and then at Super Market and later at G-8 Markaz,” he added.

Sheikh, who is also an author of more than 50 books, said, “While shifting books from place to place we lost a lot of rare and precious books. Owing to lack of space we moved more than 10,000 books to National library Islamabad.”

Sheikh said that after acquiring land for library building the administration was facing a number of problems to maintain the library. He said that library had no proper study hall, shelves for books, chairs and Internet facility. He said that the walls of adjacent girls hostel was demolished for making study halls. He further said that in present age internet facility was very important but the library lacked that basic facility too.

Responding to a question about less number of visitors, Sheikh replied to this scribe that the library had more than 40,000 registered members.

He said that people wanted to read books but due to the government’s indifference and shortage of funds, the library was unable to cater to public needs fully. It is an irony of fate when Islamabad Public Library was accommodated in a rented building, the rent was more than the total budget for purchasing books, said the in-charge library. He emphasised that the government should focus on building libraries because today’s readers would be tomorrow’s leaders.