GUEST IN TOWN: Lincoln Centre to open soon
By Ali Waqar
LAHORE: The United States (US) is ready to open its first Lincoln Centre in the city to make a platform to exchange views between people of the US and Pakistan.
Mary Nell Bryant, information resource official of the US Department of State Bureau of International Information Programme, who is currently in charge of information resource centres in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia, said there were four US information resource centres in Pakistan and the new one to open in Lahore would be launched in a couple of months in the main library of the Punjab University (PU).
She said the US had opted for the library because it had Internet access and offered latest research journals to students and teachers.
She said the objective of opening such centres was to provide information on the US and its residents. She said the centre would provide forums where regular Americans would interact with regular Pakistanis on issues. She said the interaction would help understand people through discussions on topics of likenesses, which could include religion, politics, economy, terrorism, education, health, literature and society.
She said a Lincoln Centre cost $50,000 excluding running costs. She said the US residents were encouraged to ‘befriend libraries’ by donating to them. She said libraries played a vital role in establishing an educated society and in the US, there were more than 115,000 libraries including those of universities, schools and colleges.
She said the membership of the centre was free of cost and. She said there would be access to Internet, database, country information and other material and a skilled librarian would be responsible to look after the library. She said the only problem faced in setting up the centres was finding the area.
She said libraries and information resource centres in the US were sources of learning and awareness where lectures, presentations, help desks regarding income tax issues and many other social and governmental issues were provided to facilitate visitors and members.
She said she visited Lahore in 1976 when she was on a world tour. Mary, who loves visiting historical sites, at the time, visited Shalamar Gardens and some other historical places. In her current visit, she was unable to do much, but she did manage to visit Cucoo’s Café because she is fond of Pakistani food. She finds Lahore to be a fun city, but has issues with the traffic scene.
Mary is from Miami, Florida. She worked as a reference specialist with the Congressional Research Service from 1978 to 1991 when she joined the staff of the House Special Task Force on Eastern European Parliamentary Development. For three years she worked with Parliaments in Eastern Europe and the Baltics to develop their parliamentary libraries. In 1994, she joined the Foreign Service as an Information Resources Officer and has served in Central America, Brazil, the Caribbean, and East Asia. In 2001-2002 she served as Assistant Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Belgrade. For the last two years, she has been the department’s coordinator for the American Corners programme worldwide.