The ‘We are Making a Library’, the project was developed by young people, aimed at igniting a special long-term relationship with a book and to address the absence of public libraries in their lives. Inspired by the work of artist Madiha Aijaz, installed at Jamshed Memorial Hall Library during KB17, the ‘We are Making a Library’ project looked into the existing libraries in Karachi, and explored ways of ensuring they remain accessible. This project was held in collaboration with Tetley UK, where a parallel project was also carried out.

Through an open call, a group of 11 kids participated in a workshop organized by Karachi Biennale Trust, coordinated by Varda Nisar, as a part of the KB19 Educational Program. Ranging from ages 13 to 17, from schools around the city – Alizeh Afzal, Daniya Binte Ahsan, Faiza Salman, Aimen Syed, Khadija Kazi, Maliha Hasan, Javeria Aibani, Iqra Jamshed, Hameed Ansari, Muhammad Farooq Jamshed, Hammad Sohail led the project, trying to understand their own relationship with books. After spending two weeks investigating libraries across the city – Frere Hall, Liaquat Library, the Jamshed Memorial Hall Library and the British Council Library – this group of kids worked to redefine the word ‘library’ and how one can be created without any perceived infrastructure. The workshop also facilitated reading sessions in parks.

Going further into the project, these kids were involved with setting up their own library – a multilingual selection donated by the community – which was opened to the public on the 1st of August 2018, at the Alliance Francaise. It then moved to Orangi Township at the Office of Orangi Pilot Project and will become a part of KB19 in October 2019. Currently, it is the only Children’s Library in Orangi and it is frequently visited by school children.

The feedback has revealed that the participants were highly impacted by the workshop, which allowed them to learn the role of libraries in learning and to appreciate the views and values of others and work with people from different backgrounds.

The ‘We are Making a Library’ project was in partnership with Alliance Francaise and Orangi Pilot Project.