Any library is truly a “house of wisdom” in every sense. Hence the name given to the colossal library building of Hamdard University is very appropriate indeed. Baitul Hikmah means house of wisdom. It is situated inside the Madinat-ul-Hikmah which means city of education.
Both Madinatul Hikmah and Baitul Hikmah were the ideas of Hakim Muhammad Said Shaheed. Baitul Hikmah was inaugurated by Mr. Ghulam Ishaque Khan in 1989. It was named Baitul Hikmah after the historic library of Baghdad which was founded by Caliph Abu Jafar Al Mansoor.
Baitul Hikmah is being managed by very trained personnel of 42 staff members. The covered area of its vast building is over 127,000 square feet. At present it houses over 4,00,000 books of different categories. The building is planned to be raised to five floors which will result in the increment of the collection of books upto 25,00,000. It is a great leap as the library took a start with just 75000 books donated to it by Hakim Said.
Collection of Books and Reference Materials:
The library has a broad collection of books and other materials necessary for reference and modern education as well. The total number of books is said to be about 477,251. The manuscripts section has 1734 manuscripts in 8 languages. Some 912 copies of the Holy Quran in 66 languages also add to the pride of the library. The library receives 19 different newspapers daily which is remarkable. The audio visual section has 2846 cassettes while the computer database has complete record of 2260 magazines and journals.
Some of the services in Baitul Hikmah library are very rarely found in other university libraries in Pakistan. For example the fumigation center which is there to protect books from bacteria. The display center has over 300 surgical instruments that were invented by Muslim scientist Abdul Qasim Al Zahrawi. Apart from that 442 coins from many countries and journals of Hamdard foundation are also on the display here. The auditorium of the library is unique because of the SIS system, which makes it possible to translate speeches into 5 languages during the seminars and conferences. The computer section is not just providing regular services to the users, but it is also a pioneer in Pakistan in making computerized catalogues for the library.
Baitul Hikmah library is undoubtedly an asset for Pakistan.