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March 28, 2016

RCB library waits for readers


March 28, 2016


The Lansdowne Library, now functioning under the umbrella of Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB), has a large number of books on different subjects besides containing modern facilities, is not being visited by people except for a few because of unawareness among them about its existence on the premises of the civic body's office.

According to the incharge, Amjad, the RCB library contains 45,000 books on different topics and subjects in different languages, however, the number of visitors is unfortunately deplorable and disappointing. Of the daily visitors, which are only 15, most of them are members. He believed that it could be lack of interest among the new generation to gain knowledge by reading books. In the entire Rawalpindi Cantonment, it is the only major library for a population of over one million, but the ratio of daily visitors could be easily counted on fingertips.

Besides non-fiction books and novels, the library has magazines, both Urdu and English, separate reading rooms with comfortable chairs and tables. Above all, the library has also given the facility of air-conditioners. Students could visit the library for research and preparing for their examinations. Unfortunately, the ratio of library membership has declined considerably, he said.

According to the library incharge, some two to three decades ago, Lansdowne Library had been witnessing a large number of students and other people visiting it for reading books and drawing them on membership basis. The students used to visit this library for studying during their examinations. However, with the advent of computer and mobile phones, the interest in reading books has decreased among the students and and the number of visitors started declining with the passage of time. 

This library is being run with a 10-member staff which also includes the in-charge himself.

The annual budget allocated for the library is quite low which is all spent on meeting the expenditure, particularly payment of salaries to the staff. Because of low budget provided for the library’s functioning, the salaries of its staff are meagre and indeed disappointing. The new chief executive officer of the RCB, Dr. Saima Shah, has, however, raised the annual allocation for the library from Rs100,000 to Rs300,000, said Amjad while praising her efforts. While her predecessor, Rana Manzoor, had established a room for reading, offering prayers and having lunch for women. He had also revamped the entire library through the funds of the civic body, he said.

The in-charge sought help of both print and electronic media for the promotion of this library and creating awareness among the people, particularly students, about its existence. 

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