Libraries in Karachi

Only sixty-two libraries for 14 towns

By Jamil Khan | KARACHI

THE 178 union councils (UCs) in all 18 towns that fall under the jurisdiction of the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) have only 62 libraries to cater to the needs of around 15 million people. Moreover, this distribution is not very even either, and four towns have no libraries whatsoever.
This is despite the fact that the Sindh Local Government Ordinance (SLGO) 2001 requires that all UCs establish and maintain libraries in their respective jurisdictions. In the six years that the SLGO 2001 has been in force, however, no new libraries have been set up.
Ironically, Lyari and Landhi towns, generally known as backward areas with a mess of civic problems, actually have a total of 30 libraries between them. Moreover, a recent survey showed that the existing libraries in the city were not only depriving of proper sitting arrangements, but at some of these libraries, officials did not cooperate with readers.
Bin Qasim Town, Gadap Town and Keamari Town have zero libraries, and the town administration has not taken any measures to set any up either. SITE Town had one library (the Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai Library) which was situation right beside the town office. This library, however, was burned down by a mob during an attack on the town office on August 28 last year. The town administration then moved its office to another location, but they apparently forgot to set up the library again.
The Kutubkhana Aam Baldia Library, situated in Frere Market, is one of the oldest in Saddar Town. It has been closed for the past three months for renovations which are moving at snail’s pace. “The renovation began in January and was supposed to be completed within two months,” the Saddar Town deputy town officer (DTO), Farhat Jahan, told Daily Times. “Due to the slow pace of the work, however, the closure has been extended.” Jahan said that the town administration had instructed the contractor to finish up the work as soon as possible, and the library will be reopened within a couple of weeks.
The Dr Saleemuzzaman Siddiqi Library in Society area, PECHS, has been occupied by the Pakistan Rangers since 1992. Jamshed Town DTO, Naeem Ahmed, said that the town nazim had asked higher-ups repeatedly to have the building vacated. Nothing had been done so far, however. Ahmed also said that a new library had been set up in the town, and will be inaugurated soon. In Lyari Town, the Lyari Textbook Library (located behind the town office) is one of the oldest and most major libraries in the area, and is visited by hundreds of people daily. “We have 18 libraries in 11 UCs,” Lyari Town Nazim, Malik Fayyaz, told Daily Times. Moreover, he said, the town administration also extends financial assistance to the libraries that have been established in the area by social organizations.
“Almost all town administrations, as well as the city government, are being spending billions of rupees on development projects but are no attention is being paid towards creating a book culture in the city,” Haris Ali, a student of M.A. from Gulshan-e-Iqbal, said. He further said that authorities concerned should establish new modern libraries in their respective jurisdictions and should take this very seriously.
-Published in Daily Times-Karachi | April 06, 2007

~ by jamilkhan on June 16, 2008.

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