Islamabad  -  Almost a century and a half old Rawalpindi Municipal Library (RML), located in country’s fourth largest city, has finally attracted the attention of authorities concerned after prolonged negligence and is being reconstructed by the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation (RMC) to facilitate book-lovers.

The library had lost its 95% old and valuable collection and furniture during the 2005 flood in Nullah Lai and failed to recover more than 20% till now. The library, situated on the Benazir Bhutto Road, was established by the British in 1873.

 Originally, it had 1,000 books and 25 members, and once boasted 50,000 books and 7,000 members. However, it has been matter of satisfaction for book lovers that the library is being reconstructed to provide a welcoming environment to the visitors. “After being ignored for a long time the library, which no doubt is a national asset, is being reconstructed,” Khawaja Humayun an official of library told APP.

Meanwhile, many regular visitors of the library said that the lack of proper facilities and the authority’s behaviour had been discouraging the tradition of using public libraries for attaining knowledge. Library users had lost interest because of uncomfortable environment and lack of professionalism in staff. 

“I had visited Municipal Library a short time ago before the construction started and I noticed that things were terrible, not a single member of staff held relevant qualification, adding it wasn’t upgraded and well-kept either, said Ahmed Khawaja.

“I visited the library numerous times while doing my M.Phil last year but often could not get the required books due to unqualified staff or found the library closed during the day”, complained Saira a dweller of the same area. She added,’’ We build malls, erect bridges and roads, create parks and markets and establish schools and colleges but do not pay a little attention to already existing old resources.’’ “Cultured and well educated senior citizens of our country used to spend time in such places to have intellectual gatherings in the past, hopefully with the re-construction of the library, this tradition could be revived again”,  said Fayyaz Rabbani, a retired lecturer.