Monday, January 17, 2022

NLA, KU to organize seminar on books

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The National Library Association (NLA) and the University of Karachi’s Library & Information Science department will be organizing a seminar titled ‘Books are Forever’ next month, it was decided in their joint meeting held at the campus on January 17. 

The NLA was represented in the meeting by its Advisor, Syed Khalid Mahmood, President, Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah, Senior Vice President, Munazza Abidi, Secretary General, Anwar Hussain, Treasurer, Nasir Nayab, and Joint Secretary, Hira Yaseen, while the university’s Library & Information Science department contingent comprised of its chairperson, Prof Dr Farhat Hussain Khan and the faculty members Dr Rafat Parveen Siddiqui (Assistant Professor), Dr Naveed-e-Sahar (Assistant Professor), Dr Waseem Zia (Assistant Professor) and Rashid Ali (Lecturer). 

It was mutually agreed that the seminar will either be held on February 17 or February 22, depending on the availability of the university’s auditorium which possessed a seating capacity for more than 400 persons. 

The session, presided over jointly by Syed Khalid Mahmood and Prof Dr Farhat Hussain, noted that it was the right time to start engaging the departmental students into such gripping activities as the new semester had just started and the fever of the Karachi International Book Fair (KIBF) was still on. 

The NLA office-bearers as well as the KU faculty firmly shared the vision that books held great future, irrespective of the medium or the format it may be read with. 

“E-books in digital format are being read and followed as passionately as the conventional books in print form these days. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the books are here to stay, braving all challenges and silencing all critics or rumours,” they asserted. 

The teachers of the Karachi University’s Library & Information Science department were well and truly satisfied with the motivation level of their students. 

“They enter here to learn and we provide them an environment where passion for books could grow. As a result all of them develop the tendencies and skills which come handy in their professional life,” the learned teachers remarked. 

The university’s Library & Information Science department seems heading towards further glories under the leadership of their new chairperson, Prof Dr Farhat Hussain, who has had a record of doing things on fast track.

Author Asma Hassan to speak in KU seminar

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Asma Hassan, one of the most promising young authors, who debuted with popular Urdu Book ‘Mayar-e-Zindagi’ in 2020, has been unanimously approved as a speaker in the seminar titled ‘Books are Forever’ which is being organized by the National Library Association (NLA), with the collaboration of the University of Karachi’s Library & Information Science department next month. 

The seminar’s organizing committee, which met at the university campus on January 17, also approved the keynote speaker as well as other speakers for the event which is scheduled to be held at the auditorium of the University of Karachi, which has a seating capacity for more than 400 persons. 

Besides author Asma Hassan, regarded as the voice of the young generation, the list of speakers in the seminar includes professors of Library & Informational Science, working librarians, social reformers and journalists. They will enlighten the audience by sharing their views and thoughts on the subject.

Union Councils undertake library drive

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

In accordance with the guidelines of the Government of Sindh, the Union Councils in Karachi have undertaken the arduous task of developing new libraries besides renovating the old ones which had become dormant over the years. 

Agha Sameer Khan Durrani, Administrator, Union Committees, Gulberg Town, District Central, has set the ball rolling by not only allocating a premises for library but he got it ready in a matter of just one week and all seemed set to have it ready for opening in the coming week. 

The three-member delegation of the National Library Association (NLA), comprising of its Advisor, Syed Khalid Mahmood, President, Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah, and Secretary General, Anwar Hussain, confessed having been taken by surprise they visited the office of the Union Council-30 Yaseenabad, located in Block 15 of Federal-B-Area, on January 17.

“We had visited this place exactly a week ago on January 10, upon the invitation of the UC officials to discuss the idea of setting up a library in the available space. Just in a matter of one week they have got the premises whitewashed coupled with installation of new fans and tube lights. It’s incredible to say the least,” the NLA officials complimented. 

Agha Sameer Durrani informed that the furniture for the library had already been ordered and the books will be ready to be shelved within the next few days. He also agreed to the NLA suggestion of having a qualified librarian posted to do the job. 

The NLA delegation reassured its support and technical assistance to the Union Council in their endeavours to run the library, equipped with all basic facilities. They were optimistic that Union Councils in various districts of Karachi and other parts of the province will also follow the guidelines of the Government of Sindh to have more libraries. 

Meanwhile the NLA office-bearers presented a copy of famous author Asma Hassan’s Mayar-e-Zindagi to Agha Sameer Durrani, who is a passionate lover of books and libraries. Glancing through the book, he declared that the contents looked impressive and he will like to read it fully as soon as possible.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

NLA hail its EC member on Grade-20 promotion

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The top leadership of the National Library Association (NLA) has greeted one of their Executive Committee members, Muhammad Ibrahim, working at the High Court of Sindh, Karachi, on his recent promotion to Grade-20.

“It’s a matter of pride for the librarians’ community in general and the NLA in particular that one of our colleagues has earned a thoroughly deserved promotion in government service,” the NLA President, Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah, remarked. 

The NLA Advisor, Syed Khalid Mahmood, and the Association’s Secretary General, Anwar Hussain, have also extended their greetings and good wishes to the recently promoted librarian into Grade-20. 

The 56-year old Ibrahim, who has been associated with the NLA since its inception in 2017, had done Masters in Library & Information Science (MLIS), from the University of Karachi. He is credited to compiled as many as 15 books on the subject of law.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Greenwich University offers scholarships to journalists

By Iqbal Jamil 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The inaugural ceremony of the Greenwich University Journalist Association (GUJA) was organized recently at the campus of the university, housed in DHA, Karachi, in which Mahmood Moulvi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Maritime Affairs was the chief guest. 

Speaking on the occasion, Mahmood Moulvi recognized that the journalists played a very active part in nation building and development, adding that academia and media working from one platform will surely bring about improvement in both the sectors. He was of the opinion that a lot of constructive initiatives could be executed from the platform of GUJA. 

The Vice Chancellor of the Greenwich University, Seema Moghal, announced that 50% scholarship will be given to the students on the recommendation of the committee of journalists, which will be formed very soon under the umbrella of GUJA. She stated that the Greenwich University desired to build a strong relationship with the media so that they could work jointly for a better future. 

Journalists Manzar Naqvi, Mubashir Mir, Ehsan Qureshi, Riazuddin and Rohail Intekhab speaking, on the occasion, lauded the initiative of the Greenwich University on the formation of GUJA. They described it a great initiative and which would certainly be helpful for the journalists’ fraternity. 

Later the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Maritime Affairs distributed shields among the journalists.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Former KDA chief passes away

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Ahmed Hussain, a former Director General of the Karachi Development Authority (KDA), passed away on January 10. He was 85. He has left behind three sons and a daughter to mourn his death. 

He had become the Director General of KDA following the retirement of Muhammad Naeem. Earlier he also held the post of Director General of the then Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) for a few years. 

He was laid to rest at a local graveyard in Karachi. His Namaz-e-Janaza and burial were attended by close friends and relatives. 

Meanwhile, the mother of Agha Maqsood Abbas, a former Director General of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), who also headed the Malir Development Authority (MDA), breathed her last on January 11. 

Her Namaz-e-Janaza was offered at the Imam Bargah in Ancholi, Federal-B-Area, and later laid to rest at Wadi-e-Hussain in the presence of friends and relatives.

NLA, National College join hands for book promotion

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Government National College, one of the most revered colleges of Karachi, and the National Library Association (NLA), the vibrant body of working librarians, have decided in principle to join hands in launching a programme aimed at the promotion of book and library culture in the country. 

The College Principal, Prof Syed Uzair Ahmed Madni, who is himself a proactive educationist, besides being a seasoned broadcaster, poet and writer, during his meeting with the NLA Advisor, Syed Khalid Mahmood, on January 11, volunteered to host the event in three parts, whereby the students will be firstly engaged in a group discussion on Asma Hassan’s book Mayar-e-Zindagi before entering the BCQ competition on the same book and then participating in an interactive session with the author. 

“We appreciative the initiatives of the NLA in book and library promotion. We understand that Mayar-e-Zindagi is the perfect book for such an event because its various chapters are related to character building which will be helpful in guiding the students to lead a better life. Most significantly the book has been authored by Asma Hassan, one of the younger writers, which will not cause any generation gap with the college students,” Prof Uzair Madni reckoned. 

“Let National College do this pilot project. Upon its successful completion we would recommend this template to be replicated at other colleges of Karachi and the NLA can think in terms of taking it to different parts of the country,” he suggested. 

It may be recalled that a two-member delegation of NLA, comprising of its President, Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah, and Secretary, Anwar Hussain, had also called on the Principal of the Government National College (Evening) a few weeks ago in which matters relating to holding programmes jointly were initially discussed.

Monday, January 10, 2022

NLA willing to boost public libraries

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The National Library Association (NLA), having come of age with its continued work for the cause of the profession for the past five years, has expressed its willingness to support public libraries in the larger interest of the masses. 

“We are prepared to work with the government bodies as well as the private sector who are desirous of reviving their libraries or planning to set up new ones,” Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah, President, NLA, observed during his meeting with the officials of the Union Council-30, Karachi District Central, on January 10. 

A three-member NLA delegation, headed by its President, and also containing Advisor, Syed Khalid Mahmood, and Secretary General, Anwar Hussain, visited the office of the Union Council, located in Block 15 of Federal-B-Area, where a library is being planned to be established by the authorities. 

The NLA office-bearers were warmly greeted by the Union Council officials who took them to various covered spaces where a library is intended to be setup for serving the area people. 

The NLA delegation assured its support and technical assistance to the Union Council in their endeavours to build a library, equipped with all basic facilities. They expressed the hope that Union Councils in other districts of Karachi and other parts of the country will also engage into such healthy activities.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

NLA celebrates KIBF success

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The National Library Association (NLA) celebrated the grand success of its participation in the 16th Karachi International Book Fair (KIBF) which was staged by the Pakistan Publishers and Booksellers Association (PPBA) at the Karachi Expo Centre from December 30 to January 3. 

The Executive Committee of the NLA met in Karachi on January 8 in which, besides discussing the successful participation in the recently held KIBF, deliberated on projects planned to be organized during the current year. 

The NLA Advisor, Syed Khalid Mahmood, was flanked by their President, Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah, Secretary General, Anwar Hussain, Information Secretary, Younis Hashmi, and Executive Committee member, Syed Sultan Ali, as they jointly cut a cake on the occasion as mark of celebration for the KIBF glory.

“It’s indeed a historic moment and we want to make it count. The NLA has received tremendous boost by having its stall at the KIBF where the visitors turned up in huge numbers on all five days. Hundreds of membership forms have been filled and we shall soon be starting the scrutiny process,” the NLA President, Muzaffar Ali Shah, declared after the meeting. 

It may be recalled that the NLA, founded in 2017, has been participating in the KIBF since that year but it was for the first time when they set up their own stall in the annual event the other week.

Friday, January 7, 2022

NLA mourns SBP chief librarian’s death

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The top leaders of the National Library Association (NLA) have expressed their condolence over the death of Bashir Ahmed Zia, who had served State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for a couple of decades as its chief librarian. 

According to the family sources, Bashir Zia passed away at the CMH in Kharian on January 7. His funeral is scheduled to take place at his native town Tehsil Phalia, Mandi Bahuddin, on January 8. 

Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah, President, NLA, who worked with him at the central bank’s library for quite a few years, described his demise as a big loss for the librarians’ community of the country. 

Syed Khalid Mahmood, Advisor, NLA, recalled that the veteran chief librarian had greeted him very enthusiastically and issued him a membership card of the SBP Library right away during his official visit to the central bank’s head office in 2013. 

Anwar Hussain, Secretary, NLA, paid tribute to Bashir Zia, describing him as one of the most efficient and hard-working librarians who was also very knowledgeable and well-informed. 

Bashir Zia held the position of Additional Director & Chief Librarian at SBP since 1999, having previously worked as Assistant Director (Automation & Documentation), Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources, Ministry of Science & Technology, Islamabad, for 11 years. He also had brief stints as Librarian of the Institute of Blood Transfusion, Health Department, Government of Punjab, Lahore, and as Assistant Librarian at the The British Council, Lahore. 

He had done Masters in Library & Information Science in first division from the University of Punjab, Lahore, in 1986 after having graduated from the Government Degree College, Mandi Bahauddin, in 1982.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Rotary Darakhshan to contribute in promotion of library, reading culture

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Rotary Club of Karachi Darakhshan (RCKD) has pledged to contribute its bit in the promotion of library and reading culture in the country as a part of initiatives aimed at improving literacy and creating more employment. 

“Engagement of youth in healthy activities is of paramount importance. We have to facilitate this segment of the society in particular in order to get the best out of them. And there can’t be a more suitable place than a library and a more impacting activity than reading books for them,” Syed Khalid Mahmood, President, RCKD, observed during his speech in the seminar on the subject of ‘Revival of Library Culture in Pakistan’ which was organized by the National Library Association (NLA) during the 16th Karachi International Book Fair (KIBF) which concluded at the Karachi Expo Centre on January 3. 

Jahangir Moghul, Charter President, RCKD, and a former Governor of Rotary International’s District 3271, added that their club has a history of supporting literary activities and they will continue doing it by different means to achieve the cherished goal of bringing about positive changes in the society.

“As Rotarians our motto is Service Above Self and we are committed to play more proactive role in segments which are of greater significance to the people in general. Urging people to read and facilitating them in letting them read feature prominently in our list of priorities,” he pointed out. 

RCKD, which has supported book launch events besides other such activities, including the one just a few weeks ago, has planned to honour eminent library and literary figures later this month for which a formal announcement is expected after their board meeting around January 10.

KIBF concludes, NLA shines

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

After creating buzz and excitement in the metropolis for the past five days on a trot, the 16th Karachi International Book Fair (KIBF) came to an end at the Karachi Expo Centre late on the evening of January 3. 

It was quite extraordinary to watch the large turnout every day and evening despite the extremely cold weather from the Karachi standards. 

Some quarters were skeptical about the success of the event because of the phenomenal rise in the positivity rate of the latest wave of COVID-19 but the bookworms appeared least bothered by the fears of pandemic and they went about their business of visiting the fair with tremendous enthusiasm. 

Since the KIBF was being held after a gap of two years, following the cancellation of the event last year due to COVID-19 related issues, there also were some concerns about people having distanced themselves from physical books but, by turning up in huge numbers, all such apprehensions remained just fiction, not facts. 

Long queues of people of all age groups, wearing face masks, as it was compulsory to get in, and the packed parking lots and the packed service roads around the Expo Centre dispelled the impression of the people having lost their love for books. 

As witnessed in the past, it was a very well attended exhibition with maintenance of all possible protocols. The people of Karachi proved the point once more that they remain passionate about education and reading.

While every stakeholder, stallholder and participant had a reason or two to celebrate the successful KIBF, the one body which stood out was the National Library Association (NLA) which not only set up their stall but managed it exceptionally well for five days to catch the imagination of library professionals and many others.

NLA comes of age with KIBF stall

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Although the National Library Association (NLA) has been participating in the Karachi International Book Fair (KIBF) since its year of inception in 2017, it was for the first time that they set up their own stall in the marquee event, organized by the Pakistan Publishers and Booksellers Association (PPBA). 

It may be recalled that Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah and Anwar Hussain, working as librarians at the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) respectively, had co-founded the NLA in 2017. They drew inspiration and strength from Prof Anwar Ahmad Zai, a high-profile government officer in education sector, who volunteered to be the Association’s Advisor. 

While the response from their fellow working librarians at various institutions was lukewarm, the duo of Muzaffar and Anwar worked tirelessly and selflessly under the guidance of the Professor who facilitated their entry into the KIBF in the very first year of the Association’s existence. 

Following the sad demise of Prof Anwar Ahmad Zai in 2020, the NLA leadership succeeded in roping in Syed Khalid Mahmood, a high-achiever in media industry, to become their Advisor last year and together they set new goals which included wholehearted participation in the KIBF. 

The NLA came alive by making its presence felt in a big way in the recently concluded KIBF as their Stall No 100 in Hall 3 of the Karachi Expo Centre remained the focus of attention of the library professionals throughout five days. Innumerable visitors to their stall acquired information about the Association and many of them filled and submitted the membership form.

NLA seminar highlights reading benefits

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The seminar organized by the National Library Association (NLA) during the just concluded 16th Karachi International Book Fair (KIBF) at the Karachi Expo Centre highlighted the multiple benefits of reading books and the working librarians were urged to facilitate the readers. 

‘Revival of Library Culture in Pakistan’ was the topic of the seminar in which eminent scholars and educationists shared their thoughts and came up with suggestions to do something concrete in this direction instead of just lip servicing. 

The NLA Advisor, Syed Khalid Mahmood, in his twin speeches on the occasion, drew the attention of the audience towards the huge turnout of bookworms on a Sunday morning at the KIBF which itself was a testimonial of people’s continued reliance on printed copies of books for enhancing knowledge by seeking accurate information instead of relying on digital platforms. 

Renowned journalist, poet and author, Mahmood Sham, who presided over the ceremony, informed the audience that, despite all challenges, there were still a large number of people, spread in different parts of the country, who were prepared to travel places for getting hold of books of their taste and choice. 

Prof Dr Farhat Hussain Khan, chairperson of the Library & Information Science department of the University of Karachi, and two of his predecessors, Prof Dr Malahat Kaleem Sherwani and Prof Dr Munira Nasreen, also enlightened the audience with their observations and suggestions. Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah, President, NLA, and Anwar Hussain, Secretary, NLA, were lauded for their efforts in promoting library culture. Younis Hashmi, Information Secretary, proposed the vote of thanks after an enlightening one-hour session.

NLA, SCLA fete promoted librarians

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The National Library Association (NLA) and the Sindh College Libraries Association (SCLA) joined hands in recognizing the recently promoted senior librarians in a ceremony organized during the 16th Karachi International Book Fair (KIBF) which concluded at the Karachi Expo Centre on January 3. 

Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari, a former chairperson of the Library & Information Science department of the University of Karachi, presided over the ceremony in which senior librarians, having been promoted to Grade 19, were presented shields. 

Speaking on the occasion, he congratulated the batch of senior librarians on having earned promotion from the provincial government after continued hard work over the years. He advised them to work proactively for the cause of the profession. 

Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah, President, NLA, commended the newly promoted librarians and welcomed them to the KIBF where the long queues at every stall should make them realize that people don’t have lost the passion for reading books and they are willing to purchase them from their hard-earned savings. 

The office-bearers and volunteers of the NLA and the SCLA were also recognized on the occasion and they received shields from the chief guest.