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Re: [plagpk] Turning Governor's House, Lahore, in to a Library

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  • Hamid Saeed
    I wonder whether poor nations should really invest in building new library buildings. People like it or not the future of education is dictated by the forces
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 6, 2013
      I wonder whether poor nations should really invest in building new library buildings. People like it or not the future of education is dictated by the forces of information technology drivers. Future of education and the libraries will be in the cloud computing where physical spaces are rapidly being taken over by virtual environment.

      Hamid Saeed

      Sent from my iPhone 4S

      On Apr 5, 2013, at 5:31 PM, mumtaz anwar <gombak_98@...> wrote:


      What Mr. Imran Khan said is appreciable to the extent that some of our leaders give importance to 'library' - hopefully. So far I have read at least eight postings about his statement on the group sites - most in favour and a few against the interesting proposal.  Such statements by politicians are nothing new. The former Prime Minister Gilani had declared that he will turn the P.M. House in to an educational institution once he leaves it! Some other leaders have said similar things to please the people. The question that needs to be discussed is why our leaders, when they are in power, plan and build huge palacial buildings which a poor nation can not afford.
      Let us look at the real ground. The Governor's House is a very old structure built around a tomb - extended many times as the need arose. I have seen the structure from inside including the tomb. The complex is not at all suitable for use as a library. Even if it was turned in to a library, what type of service it will provide to the people of Lahore or of the povince as a whole.

      What is needed is a comprehensive public library service available to the public close to their community. The local government laws have always made some provision to provide such service to each community. These provisions have never been fully used because the political and bureaucratic leaders are not really interested in a systematic service supported by these laws and funded by the tax money. Those who want to look at the historical background and legal provisions for public libraries should look at my book: Public Library Legislation in Pakistan, 1996.

      The Punjab Local Government Ordinance 2001 made a provision "to establish and maintain libraries" as one of the functions of the Union Administration. A draft Punjab Local Government bill has been ready for several years but has not been placed before the assembly for approval. The bill makes a provision among the functions of the District Council as follows "Provision and maintenance of libraries and reading rooms".

      There is a need to improve on the this provision by placing it under a different head and once this bill is approved, working for its implementation. The need is to provide a public library service, on a reasonable scale, to all the people of the province rather than creating islands of reading materials in Lahore, either in old buildings or in parks.

      The profession should work for a system rather than disjointed good-looking units in beautiful parks. Such a system should cater to the real reading and information requitements of each community. Turning old buildings which need to be preserved as a heritage is not the right thing to do.           

      Mumtaz A. Anwar, Ph.D.
      Hon. Professor
      Dept. of Library and Information Science
      University of the Punjab, Lahore

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