A Cry for Better Libraries from Bahrain

A letter in the Gulf Daily News from an A. Barr talks about how pleased he or she was by the high quality of English and Arabic books at the Children’s Library in the Isa Cultural Centre, and how displeased at the lack of children’s-book events, and how, well, you can’t check the books out.

This letter could have come from a writer in Alexandria, or Cairo, or perhaps other Arab cities as well, where books are protected from patrons by keeping them locked up inside the library, and generally dis-allowing children under six.

The writer asks: “Is the centre interested in starting a free or very low-cost reading programme for children? I am a licensed American teacher and would love working with someone from the centre on setting up story hours, reading contests, etc. in Arabic and English a few times a week.”

It seems a little depressing that A. Barr had to express these wishes in a newspaper rather than just talking to library officials, but I still hope Bahrain is more open to these sorts of events than Egypt has been. It would be wonderful if they could take this teacher up on his/her offer.

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