International Spotlight: IBBY Pakistan — Book Bikes

It was a delight to have Basarat Kazim from IBBY Pakistan to join us at the AMM!

One of the new initiatives of IBBY Pakistan—Book Bikes—exemplifies the ingenuity and creativity of international IBBY sections in delivering programs during the global pandemic—and we are thrilled to spotlight it here. (Thank you to Catherine Mitchell for the introduction!)

IBBY Pakistan’s Book Bike program brings books to read, and videos to watch, to children in small communities in Lahore so that they can continue to learn (and enjoy reading!) while schools are closed during the pandemic.

Basarat Kazim describes the inspiration for Book Bike: “The idea came from the ice cream bikes that can be seen in Lahore’s streets during the summer months. We thought using such a bike to take books to children, instead of ice cream, would be worth trying.”

“Children come out from their homes to pick out books they want to read, and also watch short DIY or educational videos on the screen attached inside of the book box. The children love story books in Urdu, Pakistan’s national language.”

The Book Bike is currently focused on a small district in Balochistan where there are no libraries in primary schools. The program is ongoing—and growing as the third wave of COVID-19 has been stronger in Pakistan and schools have remained closed.

Basarat reports: “We have received a request from Balochistan to send our Book Bike there. We have decided to do that so that children who do not have access to colourful books can get the opportunity to read for pleasure.”

Very recently, the program has expanded to include the delivery of books by camel! Please read more here.

For additional information on the Book Bikes program, please contact Basarat Kazim, Liaison Officer, IBBY Pakistan at aliflaila_lhr@yahoo.com

IBBY Pakistan is affiliated with the Alif Laila Book Bus Society, a registered non-profit, non-governmental organization that has been working to promote literacy and quality education in Pakistan since 1978. The organization set up the first children’s library in the country, and since then has been advocating for books and libraries for children all over Pakistan, reaching out to children in the rural and mountainous areas.

contributed by Patti McIntosh

Photos © Basarat Kazim
The Book Bikes are driven by adults. But when it is parked, children like to sit on the seat and read.

Back to Spring 2021 Newsletter Home