Quaid-e-Azam Library, Lahore, Pakistan - April 2008
Brief History of Quaid-e-Azam Library
The library building was constructed in the mid of 19th century during the British rule. It comprises two halls, the Lawrence Hall (65’x32’.5) and the Montgomery Hall (106’x46’). The Lawrence Hall was built in 1861-62 to commemorate Sir John Lawrence’s association with the Punjab. He was the first Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab, and subsequently Viceroy and Governor General of India. The Montgomery Hall was erected in 1866 from subscription of native Chiefs of the Punjab in honour of Sir Robert Montgomery. Both the halls are joined by a covered corridor. A commodious reading-room, leading into the corridor between the two halls, was lately constructed. The building was frequently used as an assembly room for public meetings and staging theatrical and musical performances. Mostly it was a meeting place for the foreign elite to while away their evenings in summer with iced drinks and in winter with a log-fire. Both Halls were under the charge of the Municipal Committee. The building was known as Old Gymkhana.
On 17th May, 1981 a committee was formed under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary, Punjab, to set up a model library in Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore. The renovation work for converting the old Gymkhana building was started immediately. The Governor of the Punjab Lt. Gen. Ghulam Jilani Khan frequently reviewed the arrangements made in connection with the establishment of this library. The President of Pakistan Gen. Mohammad Zia ul Haq visited Bagh-e-Jinnah to approve the plan on 24th October, 1981. The library was officially inaugurated by the President on 25th December, 1984 and was named as Quaid-e-Azam Library.
The original features of the old Gymkhana building was restored after extensive labour. With the provision of false ceiling, air-conditioning arrangements in some reading rooms, and marble flooring of the corridor, the library presents an attractive look after renovation.