Rawalpindi: Following its renovation, the 145-year-old Rawalpindi Municipal Library, a public space in the garrison city, received both a new appearance and a new moniker.
‘Allama Iqbal Library’ is the new designation for the institution. The library, situated adjacent to Liaquat Bagh on Murree Road and spanning three Kanals, features a cozy atmosphere, air conditioning and heating, a more incredible selection of literature, and Internet access.
Personal computers have been installed to enhance visitors’ internet access. The interior of the building, which was reconstructed in 2018 with the assistance of a World Bank loan, was renovated at the expense of Rs25 million by Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation (RMC).
From 2013 to 2018, the PML-N government in Punjab obtained a $150 million loan from the World Bank intending to enhance public infrastructure in five prominent cities within the province, namely Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, and Gujranwala.
As a grant-in-aid, the provincial government allocated funds to these cities; however, the Punjab government is currently repaying the loan.
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Despite expanding the library’s membership to 8,000, the number of active members remains 200. 1980 saw the construction of the previous structure, which underwent reconstruction in 2018.
The library, a century old, is now known as the Allama Iqbal Library.
Following the destruction of the library by a catastrophic flood in Leh Nullah in 2001, District Nazim Raja Tariq Mehboob Kiani secured financial support from various governmental and private entities to restore the library to operational status. Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatha launched the initiative in 2024 to enhance the library’s interior and provide students with more convenient resources.
He stated that the library would undergo additional enhancements in the coming days in response to the students’ suggestions. “The annual renewal fee for library memberships will be Rs50, while the initial membership fee of Rs250 has been kept extremely low.” In addition, six computers, lockers for students, and a chamber for children have been installed.
As an additional display of benevolence to encourage a culture of reading, he stated that students who visited the library would be offered complimentary tea. He noted that the library has over 50,000 volumes, of which approximately 800 are designed for competitive examinations.
He explained that to prevent any disruption to the studies of male and female students participating in competitive examinations, separate spaces had been designated for them. Similarly, designated areas should be created for individuals to peruse periodicals and newspapers.
To oversee library affairs, he stated that the nine-member committee would be duly informed shortly. He stated that the committee would administer the funds for the library’s gratis services, which the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation would provide.
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