Daily an agitated line of students queues to get a book, an example followed
hesitantly by our teachers who never got a reading habit. What a pleasure
to see the enthusiasm of the youngest in particular, exchanging daily their
treasured book for another one.
There is also ample place (there are 5 big tables and 10 comfortable chairs)
in the library to sit quietly and do some research or simply have a look at the
books. We ask our teachers to stimulate the usage of the library by giving
The general public has access to the library as well. Adult members pay
Rs.50 per year (Rs.55 = € 1) and book cards (valid for 20 books) are available
to them at Rs.10 each. One book at a time can be taken for one week.
If more time is required, this can be granted by the librarian.
Our new office cum library
Per day late, a fine of Rs.5 is levied. Per damaged page, Rs.10.
These somewhat strict rules had to be introduced to make the people respect the
books as well as the rules, since in this area in general the public has no
experience to be careful with books nor to respect any rules whatsoever!
External students are welcome too; their admission costs Rs.25 yearly, and
their borrowing card Rs.5. Our students and teachers are members
automatically, and their borrower cards are available at Rs.2 only. In the
beginning we didn't charge, and they kept on loosing their cards nearly daily!
This whole system has been tested elaborately in
Booni, but the somewhat more pronounced poverty of the Kosht area has made
us lower the prices to some extent.
The course books also make up an integral part of the school library.
Yearly all students get their syllabi and after completion of the year, they are
returned to the library. If their condition is reasonable, no fines are
charged. This unique system has several advantages:
We hope to be able to use these books for at least three years, after which
we may start a system based on second hand books (since we are the only school
in upper Chitral using these books, we first have to introduce old books in the
In October 2001, during our forced stay at Islamabad, we availed the
opportunity to extend the library substantially (with more than 1000 books).
We found many nice books in the second hand shops (many of which are selling new
books from older editions). We tried to find as many books as possible for
the small readers, since they are our most enthusiastic customers. Also
the Urdu section has been substantially upgraded. Since the local language
is from the same family as the Urdu one, it is easier for them to learn Urdu
We won't stop extending the library, since the interest of the students is
growing day by the day. It is our aim that the library becomes a source of
knowledge for college and university students too. And who knows,
maybe one day each house may have at least one library member?