Kuch Karo

Monday's session began with Maliha addressing an issue the kids had been facing. She had given the kids research assignments in the past and said that they often called her up saying that they could not find the information they had been asked to look for. 

Thus, Maliha shared tips and tricks of online research with the group. She taught participants how to phrase questions while using search engines for the best results. The group also discussed various types of information that could be found using the internet such as newspaper articles, blogs and encyclopedia entries. Maliha explained that, since anybody could publish articles online and edit Wikipedia entries, all information accessed via the internet was to be regarded with a degree to skepticism. 

"What is a library?" Maliha asked when that was finally over. "What can a library be?" She asked the participants to close their eyes and picture the perfect library. 

"I've never been to a library," said Mohtashim. Many others raised their hands in agreement. It was clear that a lot of the group did not know what to expect from a library. Maliha then asked the group to imagine a comfortable and warm place where they could learn and study and think in peace and then to write their ideas on the blackboard.  
The board filled up very fast. Ideas included air conditioning, comfortable sofas, free wireless internet and, of course, an abundance of books. 

Maliha then proceeded to show pictures of beautiful personal, public and private libraries all over the world to the group. In contrast, she showed them pictures of Sehba Akhtar Library. The group was slightly crestfallen to see the condition it was in. The pictures, however, showed how bare the library was. Maliha told the kids that they would be in charge of its design. 

The group then looked at some library promotion posters. The common thread in all the posters led them to the conclusion that the greatest thing that could be done to save a library was to visit it and encourage others to do so as well. The participants discussed various means of attracting people to the library once it had been restored. 

"But no-one will come," said someone. "Nobody knows about the library. Nobody knows how to use libraries." 

Maliha explained that just because nobody was currently using the library should not be taken to mean that there was no need for the library in the community or that people could not be convinced to start using it. She concluded that promotion of the library and demonstration of how to use its resources were, in fact, as important restocking and refurnishing it. She further explained that it could take years to change people's habits and that disappointment should be expected in the short- and medium-term but that, if people kept working hard continuously, things would change drastically in the long-term. 

"But who will maintain the library?" asked someone. 

"That is the government's job," said Maliha. "But if the government fails to do its job, do not just sit around and complain because that will only affect your library. Such a situation increases your responsibility." The group discussed ways in which their library could be maintained, which included fining misconduct and mistreatment of library facilities. 

The group then read letters written by several notable authors to the children of Troy, Michigan, congratulating them regarding the establishment of a public library in their community. 

After a lunch of Red Apple garlic-mayo chicken rolls (which Maliha described as "exquisite"), the kids visited the library for the first time. They surveyed the repainting and carpentry going on the building and were shown the architectural plans we have for the library. Maliha re-emphasized the idea of teamwork and collaboration and told the group that they should expect to get their hands dirty if this project was supposed to be a success. 
- Asad
7/3/2012 12:20:49 am

This is such a wonderful thing that you are doing for these students. I wish you could bring them back with you and show them our beautiful Crossett Library! Is there anything that I can do for you? Please let me know if there is. Tell your students that I said Hello from America and that I wish them well with their library! Take good care Maliha,


7/4/2012 05:25:50 am

Leah, thanks so much! I tell them about Crossett all the time and how it was my inspiration for the library restoration project here...I wish I could bring them there, they find it slightly hard to believe how awesome it is. And they said hi back to you!

Hmm, are there any pictures of Crossett online (other than at events, on flickr) that I could show them? Also, do you have any pointers for book acquisitions? The library here has a pretty limited and outdated collection across the board, any ideas on where to begin?

7/6/2012 04:41:27 am

Hey Maliha (:

It's Fariha here, one of Ahad's classmates from CAS...I heard about this amazing project you guys are working on..It's great to know that you are working so hard and bringing new ideas into Pakistan! Hats off to you (: You probably haven't heard about me before but I just thought I'd say that what you're doing is great, Mashallah. Wish you all the best and good luck for the future.

Fariha A.P.

7/3/2012 03:26:55 pm

Its wonderful to see how this project is coming along - this blog was a great idea :)

tooba jawed
1/2/2013 02:09:17 am


7/29/2013 09:58:10 pm

It is a good work in the society that you are doing Maliha, especially since it concerns educating the children. Proper library is a part and parcel of the school education that benefits the kids to horn their learning skills.


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