KARACHI – The British Council has re-opened its gates for the book lovers of Karachi after a gap of almost 15 years.
The British Council library, closed after the 9/11 attacks, has been re-launched on 21st July with a new avatar. The library, located at the British Council on Shahrahe Iran in Clifton and features more than 10,000 books in its shelves.
The new library has a new theme, blending fundamentals of a traditional library with a touch of culture and technology. The library will work as a single stop portal for users by providing subscriptions to newspapers and magazines from across the world, privilege to choose from thousands of volumes from varied genres, access to digital books as well as online academic sources and articles, and it will also offer electronic checkouts for borrowed books.
A digital table as well as over 40 iPads will be available to facilitate the visitors at the library. Members are allowed to check-out five books at a time for a maximum of three weeks.
A high-end coffee bar is also one of the main attractions for those who love to immerse in books and information while breathing the dense aroma of the hot beverage.
British Council’s Director of Sindh, Balochistan Robin Davies said, ‘There are a couple of purposes for opening up a library. We want to advertise the activities that British Council does in Pakistan. Secondly, we are also highlighting the fact that these are latest, unconventional libraries. Over here, we will be having a digital set-up and you will also witness events, discussions and debates. Also, it’s going to be a sort of cafe for you to hang-out at.”
The library houses the Ismat Chugtai Auditorium, which has the capacity of seating 100 people. The floor of the library has a capacity for 150 people, with collapsible walls and a collapsible stage to create even more space.
The library also houses four meeting rooms, where 20 people can gather for group-based discussions. The rooms are named after famous personalities such as poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, artist Sadequain and writers Roald Dahl and the Brontë sisters.
There are three kinds of packages for people hoping to become members of the library; Rs500 per month for an individual, Rs3, 500 for a digital membership and Rs15, 000 for a family of six, which comprises two adults and four children.
British Council country director Jim Booth said, ‘The purpose of the library is to serve, ‘the brightest of the bright minds in the country.’ ‘When 9/11 happened, in its aftermath it was a bad decision to close down the library. [However, as of today] We need to see how to appeal and attract the young people to this library. It’s just not a place of books but a place where we can all be creative,’ he added.
— Belinda Lewis (@Belinda_Lewis1) July 21, 2016
— Abid Hussain (@abidhussayn) July 19, 2016