“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library,”wrote Jorge Luis Borges.
If the noted Argentinian poet is to be believed, then Baghlan Province, in northern Afghanistan, just got a little closer to heaven.
A public library has been built in Baghlan with financial help from the Government of Germany. The two-story building cost 16 million Afghani (approximately $230,000), and opened its doors on November 24, 2015. It is the largest public library in Baghlan.
Abdul Sattar Barez, governor of Baghlan province thanked the government of Germany duringthe inauguration ceremony for the library and called on people to study books and help the government in shaping country’s future.
“Establishing a public library … will expand the book studying culture in Baghlan province,” said Shakeera Aseel, head of the Culture and Information Directorate of Baghlan province.
Baghlan province, located in Afghanistan’s north, has recently been known for things much different from books and learning. It has been the site of fierce battles with the Taliban over the control of several important districts, in which are located the electric power pylons linking the capital, Kabul, to the power source in Uzbekistan.
The library provides a welcome change from a culture of violence.
A representative of GIZ, the German-government-owned organization that funded the library, told the local government that Germany was committed to helping Baghlan, and would continue their efforts.
GIZ has also contributed to two hostels for Baghlan University, making life much easier for students in the province.
“The government of Germany has built two buildings at a cost of 56,000,000 Afghani (approximately $800,000),” said Jawed Mosawi, an assistant professor at Baghlan University. “The whole university and all of its employees are grateful to Germany and praise its assistance.”
After the fall of the Taliban regime and the emergence of the new government, many libraries were established throughout Afghanistan. The Afghan government, as well as many foreign governments and NGOs, helped out. As a result, the Baghlan library now has more than 6,600 books, and is opening branches in the Khenjan and Dushi districts of the province.This has helped young people to develop a culture of learning and literature throughout the country.
Mohammad Feroz, a student at Baghlan University, is very happy about the new initiative. “Before we had this library we would face many problems in finding a useful book,” he told Paiwandgah. But now, fortunately, all our problems are solved and we can easily find the book we need.”