About the Author(s)
The city of Multan is in the southern part of Punjab and has always been historically significant. Multan is one the oldest living cities in South Asia and shows the combination of both the old and the new culture of Pakistan. The city of Multan has been an attraction for many tourists because of the rich architecture and the mixture of old and new cultures. One of the city’s most notable attractions is the Garrison Public Library Multan.
Since the tombs of many famous saints are also present in Multan, the city attracts the general public, especially the followers of these saints. Hence, it is widely referred to as the “City of Saints”. In recent years, this City of Saints has been hit by a wave of modernism.
Garrison Public Library
The economic hub of southern Punjab has been endowed with a multi-disciplinary library that majorly aims to serve people from all backgrounds. The late Lieutenant-General (R) Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad HI(M), a bibliophile himself – and more notably the mastermind behind Operation Zarb-e-Azb – envisioned the Garrison Public Library and worked hard to turn this vision into a reality. While working on the project, he discussed how the library would prove to be a vital source to preserve the literary, historic, and cultural heritage of the Multan region.
He added that the library would have a rich collection of over 200,000 books on every topic including religion, Pakistan’s history, national heroes, and the history of Multan. He mentioned that the library would serve as an attractive reading place for the youth, especially for those preparing for the CSS and other competitive examinations. The existence of the library can be attributed to his ideas and his untiring commitment to a dream close to his heart.
The Garrison Public Library, one of the largest public libraries established in Pakistan since 1947, has been constructed with the help of the funds received from the government and the land from the Pakistan Army in Multan Garrison.
The public libraries in Pakistan are in a decline. Most people either don’t visit libraries or rely on online sources alone. The maintenance of public libraries has also been ignored due to their reduced usage. In such a phase, the establishment of such a grand library will pull people out of the darkness of illiteracy. Just as Sidney Sheldon said, “Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life.”
The library aims to provide a wide range of reading books not only to the students but to the professionals as well. The plethora of books available on each field is available to the local people with a monthly membership of only 500 rupees. This library is not only helping preserve literature but also aims to safeguard the historic and cultural heritage of the city of Multan. The stunning infrastructure and outlook of the library have also brought in the general populace to simply admire the library.
There is a variety of books on every topic and this rich collection of literature would help to attract the youth, Central Superior Service (CSS) aspirants, and other professionals in many spheres. Separate areas for women and daycare centers for children have been established within the library to facilitate everyone. There are separate news reading rooms, a children’s science museum, a cafeteria, and a play area for children.
In order to address the modern needs of the community, a safe and low-cost library with efficient performance and Wi-Fi is made available to the people. Another attractive feature of the Garrison Public Library Multan is the area made for special children. Due to the stereotype against children with special needs, such an initiative in a public area not only helps facilitate these children, but it also creates awareness and acceptance in the general public, hence, changing how people view and interact with specially-abled individuals.
The iconic library has unique features with space for 1000 readers. The Garrison Public Library offers a collaborative learning room that can host up to 15 people, and a larger community hall to accommodate 169 people (ideal for video conferences, seminars, and workshops), along with separate conference and presentation rooms. The library has a separate hall for exhibitions which can host over 200 visitors at a time. They also offer facilities for photocopying, scanning, and printing.
The inauguration of such libraries acts as a trendsetter for the region. The Garrison Public Library has not only attracted the public as a library but also serves as a recreational spot in Multan. The beautiful interior with luxurious sitting areas has made the library a leisure spot.
Many women who are generally not able to leave their kids behind whenever they go out are also happy and satisfied. Since the library provides a daycare center and a playing area for the children, these women can leave their children there and study without worrying too much because they can keep them safely at the premises.
The women also have separate areas for reading where men are not allowed. This provides a safe and comfortable space for women that observe ‘pardah’ or are more comfortable with just women around. Thus, we can say that this library is also there to encourage the women of Pakistan, especially that of Multan, to avail this resource hub without any discomfort.
Moreover, the library has been facilitated with various preparatory books for exams and has past papers serve as a vital aid for students.
Adding Value to Multan
The Garrison Public Library has been designed beautifully and caters to a large audience. The library attracts students, intellectuals, and professionals from all fields due to the plethora of books available in its collection. One can also say that the establishment of such libraries is like increasing the closeness to God in the city. Saints are believed to be close to God and the one who seeks education is also loved by God.
Moreover, being a Muslim requires one to seek knowledge and places like these libraries serve to enhance the intellect of people. The distinct collection of books on religion in a special section present in the library also serves to diversify and build upon the religious knowledge people have. To further encourage people, the library also has quite a few religious quotes displayed all over the building. One of them being, “Seeking knowledge is a duty of every Muslim.”
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