Libraries are essential in the educational discourse of any society. Academic institutions bear the responsibility of making sure that their students have access to scholarly work, especially the books and reference materials that have relevance to their field of study.
The University of Karachi justifiably boasts that it lodges a classic library which in turn houses the founder of Pakistan Mr. Jinnah’s personal collection, besides the rest of its also very precious collection. Dr. Mahmud Husain library works under the supervision of the chief librarian Mrs. Rashida Aman.
Dr. Mahmud Husain library is also known as the central and/or main library. It was named Dr.Mahmud Husain library as recognition of the contributions of renowned scholar Prof. Dr. Mahmud Husain for the library. This was done through a unanimous resolution of Karachi University Syndicate on 12th April, 1976. The central library initially came into existence in 1952 at the time when the university’s foundations were also being laid. The present structure, though, was built in 1964. Dr. Abdul Moid was the first Assistant Librarian.
Dr. Mahmud Husain library has a collection of over 4,00,000 volumes comprising 3,37,444 books, 40,000 journals, 6,150 microfilms, 5,000 research reports, 20,000 documents and reports and 31,000 books of 45 special collections for researchers. It is an astonishing fact that some of the volumes are of as early works as the 1600s. The library has the facility of cataloging, binding, and microfilming. There are 12 reading rooms in all, of which 6 are for general reading purposes and the rest are for researchers. A circulation department is also at the service of the students. The library staff consists of 10 Assistant Librarians, 25 Library Specialists and around 100 non professionals.
Dr. Mahmud Husain library is unique in many senses. The many features that are specific to this library include the five floors which are divided in different sections. The first floor has a section where about 104 manuscripts are deposited. Also the same floor has the Muslim League Record section and the Quaid-e-Azam section. The computer lab is also situated here. On the fifth floor is the United Nations document section which is also a reflection of the management’s endeavors to augment the library’s present status. All these aspects make Dr. Mahmud Husain library a hallmark of learning.