Exclusive Tour of the New British Council Library in Karachi

As a co-founders of KHIBookSwap, yesterday I and Ifrah Waqar were invited by the British Council for a exclusive tour of their newly opened library located at the British High Commission on Shahrah-e-Iran, Clifton.

Rabeea Arif, Manager of Libraries and Outreach Services and Maarya, Director Libraries at British Council Pakistan gave us a very brief tour of the library.

I was expecting a librarian at the reception and the place will be filled with lots of bookshelves but I was wrong. It was very grey and bright space designed by an award winning architect. Library was equipped with lots of high-tech stuff. First there was a digital booth to check-in and checkout the books. A self-service counter, where you can checkout up to six books and four DVDs at one time.

On the opposite side there was a huge shelve filled with lots of graphic novels. They’ve 800 graphic novels including all the famous Marvel and DC comics.

Currently they have 12,000 books available in 20 different genres. All the bookshelves have wheels so they can easily be moved to create more space. They have one auditorium which can accommodate 100 people for hosting different literary events along with two study halls and they all had collapsible walls. They’ve planned some events for Roald Dahl 100th anniversary as Rabeea told us.

British Council Library

Story telling and reading area for children

At one corner there was very a colorful reading area for the children surrounded by children books.

At the end of our tour Maarya gave us a demo of the Digital Table. It can be used to browse digital library, which has a huge collection of e-books, magazines, articles, digital media, newspapers. It also provides access to JSTOR – another digital library for academic journals, books, and primary sources. In between Rabeea Arif posted this picture on twitter.

Right now there are 3 different memberships available:

  • Individual Membership for 6000Rs*
  • Digital Membership for 3500Rs
  • Family Membership for 15000Rs*

* Individual and Family membership are only available for the residents in Karachi while people outside Karachi can avail Digital Membership.

The library will be open for public in August 2016.

More info can be found at