Alif Laila Book Bus Society
IBBY Pakistan is affiliated to the Alif Laila Book Bus Society, a registered non-profit, non-governmental organization that has been working to promote literacy and quality education in Pakistan since 1978. The organization set up the first children’s library in the country, and since then has been advocating for books and libraries for children all over Pakistan, reaching out to children in the far flung rural and mountainous areas.
The Alif Laila complex includes three libraries and a resource centre in Lahore and a cluster school library and a mobile library in the suburb of Sheikhupura in the Punjab. Apart from these tangible centres, Alif Laila has touched the imagination of countless children and adults through its advocacy campaigns that have involved posters, street theatre, mime and puppet, muppet shows and marches – to promote reading and books throughout the country.
Since Pakistan became a member of the IBBY family in 2006, Alif Laila has formed alliances and welcomed membership from individuals and organizations involved in bringing children and books together. IBBY Pakistan does not charge a membership fee at present.
The devastating floods in 2010 left most of Pakistan inundated and thousands of homes and schools destroyed. The appeal launched at the IBBY Congress in Spain 2010 was generously acknowledged by friends from IBBY worldwide and IBBY Pakistan was able to set up Books Build Bridges libraries in a total of 110 schools from the funds generated. Two other organizations supported this venture which meant 85 more libraries going out to children in flood affected areas of Pakistan.
IBBY Pakistan partnered with different implementation partners to provide these portable library kits to the 195 schools . The programme was based on bibliotherapy and art therapy basics. The innovative library kits included books for children as well as art and craft materials, story boards and puppets. The books were carefully selected to involve and engage young readers. Play materials and a puppet kit were also included so that children could express themselves through dramatic play.
As a tribute to the courage of Malala Yousufzai and her two friends, Shazia and Kainat, IBBY Pakistan is setting up a library in their school in Swat.
Children’s Literature Festival
The first ever Children’s Literature Festival was held in Lahore on 25-26th November 2011. The objective of the festival was to promote children’s literature and a love for reading by effectively engaging and involving all relevant stake holders. The CLF was organized by Foundation Open Society Institute, ITA (Idara-e-Taale’em-o-Agahi) and Oxford University Press. Alif Laila/IBBY Pakistan was an implementation partner.
Sheikhupura Reading Fest
Over two thousand children attended the first ever Sheikhupura Reading Festival, aimed at promoting children’s literature and a love for books by involving participants through innovatively designed activities and campaigns. Story telling sessions, interactive workshops, reading and writing competitions, puppet shows and various art and craft activities kept the children enthralled.
Development of Core Library Book List
The NS was part of the team that prepared a core list of library book titles, suggested by experts for early childhood, primary, secondary and high school as well as recommended reference books for children. The list will benefit organizations and schools interested in setting up their own libraries, as well as individuals interested in setting up/donating library books.
Clinton Global Initiative
Alif Laila (NS) was also invited to take part in the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in 2011. The organization was invited to share its commitment. Alif Laila’s commitment was to develop and promote a reading culture in district Sheikhupura, through its model library programme and advocacy/media campaign.
With support from the IBBY Yamada Fund, four selected madrassas were provided with books and library shelves to set up small libraries in their precincts.. Books were selected carefully so that they could promote a better understanding of cultures and different peoples for a more tolerant culture in the madaris.A library schedule was developed allowing children of all classes some regular time for reading as well as borrowing books from the library.
Skype Sessions at the Library…….Connecting the world through books
Fun and exciting new Skype sessions have been started at the library to connect children in Pakistan to children’s writers all over the world, introducing them to new genres of writing and stories from different regions and cultures as a means of promoting a better understanding of peoples in other areas and climes.
IBBY Pakistan furthers the cause of children’s libraries and reading on many government forums and committees and enjoys working with many IBBY sections and the IBBY Secretariat at Basle.