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Bahrain unveils big public library plan

MANAMA, January 10, 2015

Ambitious plans to install public reading rooms in all of the Southern Governorate's parks, walkways and gardens are gathering pace, said a report.

The proposal, originally put forward by the former Central Municipal Council in May, has won approval from the Works, Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry and has now been formally adopted by the Southern Municipal Council and its chairman Ahmed Al Ansari.

Al Ansari was a member of the Central Municipal Council before it was disbanded following last year's shake-up of electoral boundaries.

"We are now approaching the Education Ministry to loan us their library bus, which tours around festivities and major events," Al Ansari told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

"The bus will provide a place for people to sit and read books and other publications, allowing us time to think about whether its replacement should be in the form of temporary structures, portable cabins or permanent rooms.

"Whatever our choice may be, we will ensure that readers are protected from humidity and rain."

Three months ago, the project was due for trial at Al Estiqlal Walkway in Sanad, but preparations for the national elections scuppered these plans.

Now that the library bus will allow a trial to go ahead, the next challenge will be deciding who should take responsibility for the public reading rooms once they are installed, Al Ansari said.

"Either the libraries will fall under the oversight of the private security firms that protect the parks and public spaces, or they will be administered by the Education Ministry since books and publications are involved," he said.

"These formalities will have to be addressed once we start the trial period, as there are many people interested in donating books and are awaiting the launch of this new attraction."

The main aim of the project was to get families reading together while enjoying their time outdoors, Mr Al Ansari said.

"It would be nice to see parents reading while their children played on rides in the park, or for parents to read to their children from a storybook," he added.

"Reading is an enjoyable activity, even though the introduction of new technologies has seen many families stop traditional forms of reading.

"We want to encourage it again, in a similar fashion to Westerners who sit in parks, walkways and gardens reading their favourite books, magazines and newspapers."

Al Ansari added that the top priority when considering setting up these new libraries or reading rooms would be to ensure that they have public appeal and are value for money.

"It's easy to provide books, magazines and newspapers, whether from the Education Ministry, individual donors or the private sector - or even from the council's own cultural budget," he said.

"The idea is already picking up steam and we have received support from both government bodies and private establishments, in addition to individuals willing to donate for the scheme."-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | plan | public library |

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