SIALKOT

More than century-old Govt Allama Iqbal Library has been playing a pivotal role in the promotion of book reading habit among the locals and quenching thirst of the book-lovers in this era of information technology which has brought to the fore concept of E-library across the world. This library was established by the British Rulers at Sialkot’s historical fort under the name of “Montgomery Fort Library Sialkot” in 1894, but on December 11, 1961 this library was shifted to the present location on Sialkot city’s main commercial hub Paris Road by the then Sialkot Municipality under its new name “Govt Allama Iqbal Library Sialkot” with a sole purpose to ensure easy access of everyone to this treasure of knowledge.

In-charge Govt Allama Iqbal Library Sialkot Aamir Khan informed that this ancient library has witnessed all the ups and downs of the Sialkot city besides enjoying and revealing various aspects of pre and post-partition sweet and bitter memories.

He said that there is no doubt that the concept of E-library is getting popularity globally but at the same time importance of the libraries remains hard to be beat. He pointed out that there is no denial of the great importance and dignity of the books’ libraries in such modern era of IT revolution. He said that this library has been a treasure of knowledge for everyone as a large number of Sialkot based “successful people” had quenched their thirst of seeking knowledge through this library and now they are serving around the globe in different fields.

In-charge Library Aamir Khan added that the historic library has been an embodiment of dignity, charm and as an ocean of knowledge.

He claimed that 150 to 250 people including students of local schools, colleges, universities, lawyers and notables visit the library for book reading on a daily basis. The visitors enjoy a peaceful and calm reading atmosphere in this library, which has been upgraded on Dec 29, 2009 by the then district government of Sialkot collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

He claimed that such libraries have been keeping the trend of book reading alive in Sialkot and surrounding areas, saying the libraries still remain a major source of developing book reading habit.

Aamir Khan narrated that there are more than 30,000 books in the library, covering almost all aspects of life. He regretted that the library has not been provided new books for the past three years.

He said that Sialkot Municipality had run this library for several decades, however, later the district administration of Sialkot handed over it over in administrative control of the Sialkot Education Department.

On the other hand, the encroachments have resurfaced in front of the main gate of this library, eclipsing its beauty. The officials concerned of the Sialkot TMA’s anti-encroachment squad have failed to remove the encroachments. Similarly, outer walls from the side of this library are in dire need to be white washed at the earliest.