Libraries are a great place to foster the love of books, reading and community. Since we are visiting Islamabad from Canada, we decided to explore public libraries especially for children. Growing up in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, visiting Army Central Library and the Islamabad Club Library was a beloved part of our weekends. Sadly, there aren’t too many libraries that are open to the general public. A discussion on the Urdu Mom facebook page led us to the Model Children Library Islamabad and here’s our review of the place!
The Model Children Library Islamabad is located in H-9 now. It was previously in the G-6 sector right by the Lal Masjid and had to be moved. The library is next to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) office and near the Faiz Ahmed Faiz H-9 Metro station. Below is a map of the location.
The building is used both by the Islamabad Public Library and the Model Children Library Islamabad. There is a room to the right of the reception once you enter. The building is dated and could use lots of upgrades and maintenance. There is so much potential with huge grounds that are unused. I could imagine the grounds with welcoming benches, big trees and a play ground to attract children and families (maybe some day?).
The book collection is decent in both English and Urdu. I found many Urdu gems from my childhood like ferozson’s “Des Des ke Kahaniya” by Kishwere Naheed. There were also many books by Enid Blyton and reference books I had seen in my childhood. They have latest issues of Taleem o Tarbeeyat, Nonihaal and other magazines for children.
The room could do with many fresh upgrades and some welcoming floor seating. As I browsed, I would also have liked some categorization of the books with appropriate signs on the shelves.
Membership to the library is free! You do need an attested photocopy of the National ID Card (NIC Card) of one of the parents or guardian. I had to make an extra trip to get a photocopy of my NIC card and get that attested. Wish they would do away with this unnecessary step. Some other not so convenient issues are:
- You can only issue two books on one child card
- Parents can get a card made for the library also but can not issue books from the childrens’ section
- The book issuing system is manual. So it takes a long time for the librarian to issue every book as they register it and you have to hang on to your card for all returns.
While the library could do with many changes, I still feel it’s a place with potential. The Model Children Library only has 300 members. Islamabad has a population of 2 million. Let that sink in. For a city that could really use public libraries and community spaces, the Model Children Library is drastically under-utilized. The library is conveniently located by the Faiz Ahmed Faiz Metro station and membership is free.
If we all own this library and start frequenting it, we can bring about positive changes through collective efforts and collaborations. The first step is to start visiting it and introduce our children to the world of books. Children gain many benefits through libraries. Some of them being: reading habits, responsibility in taking care of library books, accountability in returning them and manners to share community spaces etc being a few.
The Model Children Library is open Monday – Saturday 8 am to 4pm and closed on Sundays. It’s also closed between 1.15 to 1.45 pm for lunch and for longer on Fridays from 12.30 to 2.00 pm.
Let’s share this information about the library and make an effort to visit it. How about a story time with us there?