LAHORE: A proposal to establish a book street, along the lines of the Food Street, will be prepared in a month, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The idea was discussed at a meeting attended by Lahore division commissioner, the district coordination officer and the Walled City Authority on Friday. Participants of the meeting mulled over several concepts for the street’s style including showcases and shelves, shift huts and books on mats. They also considered various options for its locations including the road near Tollington Market, Thornton Road near the PTCL office on The Mall, a road near Liberty and the service lane in front of Pak Tea House.
Walled City Authority Director General Kamran Lashari said that a proposal in this regard will be prepared in four weeks.
The idea was to provide booksellers a venue to sell books and to revive the culture of reading. Avid readers would also be provided a place where they could find a variety of books.
Lashari said that he envisioned a street where the Vendors will display books in shelves and cases along the road. They would conduct a survey to identify the ideal location for the street, he said.
Muhammad Naeem Usmani, a bookseller near Mayo Hospital, said that book vendors should be provided such support by the district administration.
“We should not be treated like encroachers,” he said, “A book street is a fantastic idea...it will definitely promote the culture of reading books.”
There was a time when people would throng to bookstores to buy fiction novels and biographies, “But the only customers get now are college and university students looking for text books,” said Usmani, “Music CD shops and videogame arcades get way more many customers than us.”
Poet Wasih Shah appreciated the government’s gesture saying, “It would be a great gift for the people of Lahore...Economic prosperity alone cannot cultivate society.”
Books could help broaden the society’s view of the world and inculcate tolerance in people. “Every other cafe in the world has an adjoining book store,” Shah said, “This culture should be promoted here as well.” DCO Naseem Sadiq said that they would extend complete support to the Walled City Authority for establishing the book street. Since several proposals were under consideration at the moment they would have to wait for the Walled City Authority to specify the one they want to proceed with.
“As to who will execute the project and how it will be executed? That is yet to be decided,” he said.
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