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Construction of Academia Library nearly complete

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Despite several delays in the construction of the much anticipated Academia Library in Landsdowne, representatives of Islamic Library are confident the new facility will be completed sometime in 2015. The organization originally embarked on the initiative in 2013, with the goal of catering to the educational needs of the students and teachers of Islamia College, as well as the broader Muslim community.

The library was heralded as groundbreaking for its proposed combination of traditional literature with more modern electronic facilities. Apart from serving as a library for learner, it could also be used as a research facility for tertiary level students, Islamic scholars, as well as the general public.

“With the dawn of new technologies and the mindset of our youth having changed, we realized that we are not going to be effective and play a meaningful role if we are not going to innovatively change the way we present our library,” explained Islamic Library chairman, Dr. Elias Parker.

The new facility, which will hopefully be completed in the coming months, is touted as a far more comprehensive and inclusive facility compared to other libraries of a similar nature.

Facility-wise, it will include everything from a seminar room and interactive conference room, to an art and calligraphy facility designed to display rare Islamic artwork. It will also have a specialized section dedicated to children’s literature.

According to Parker, a large emphasis has been placed on creating a research orientated environment within the library. This includes the establishment of at least 20 study cubicles, which will each be accompanied by a computer from which research can be conducted. This is expected to be of particular benefit to students of neighboring Islamia College.

One of the standout aspects of the Academia Library however is its incorporation of modern electronic facilities, whilst still keeping to a classic library feel.

” We have set out with the objective of finding those books that are maybe 100 and odd years old, digitizing them, and making them available to our youth in an electronic digital format,” he explained.

The facility will also feature an audio/visual room, where up to 10 touch screen monitors will display material relating to the advent of Islam. This will seek to serve as a source of religious education for the youth, as well as non-Muslims seeking to learn more about the religion.

Although a preliminary date of completion was set for April 2014, Parker acknowledged that meeting this goal was something of a ‘far-reaching dream’. This was because much of the delays in construction were a result of a slowdown in the availability of funds. He was however hopeful the project would be completed in the coming months.

“I would be very generous in saying that maybe over the next 6 to 8 weeks we would have completed the entire structural side of the library. What needs to happen subsequent to that is simply to stock the library with books, and install the I.T components that are an essential part of the provisions of this library,” he said.

He added that the official opening would be largely dependent on how quickly the required literature could be acquired. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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