12 Mar, 2017

T2F (formerly The Second Floor) launched its bookstore facilitated by a bookshop, Mr Old Books, on Saturday evening.

The two-day event began at 6pm on Saturday with a short video, made by, about the decline in the number of old bookshops in the old city areas. These, among others, included famous bookstores such as Thomas and Thomas at Regal Chowk in Saddar. The owner of the shop, it was shown, was given multiple offers to move his establishment so that a fast-food outlet could be built in its place.

Similarly, it was shown that many bookstores were closed down either under pressure by other businesses or due to sharp decline in sales.

An interview with one such shop owner revealed that people no longer visit bookshops and if in case a bookseller dies, there is no one who could replace him or take responsibility of running the bookshop. This is where T2F comes in.

Speaking to Dawn, director of T2F Ellia Khan said that the idea behind the bookstore launch was to provide space to bookstall and bookstore owners to present their books.

“The whole idea is to revive the number of projects at T2F. We are working very closely with Mr Old Books at Boat Basin, a lot of the collection that we curated has been provided by them. Some books have been exchanged with Mr Old Books. They saw our collection and liked our books and in exchange we got a number of new books as well. This is how we are working toge­ther,” she added.

Explaining the concept of a monthly book bazaar, Ms Khan said that books donated to T2F by donors were presented at the bazaar.

At present, T2F is being revamped. Fiza Khatri and Asad Alvi have been hired respectively to look after the art collections at the Faraar Shop and to curate, fix and standardise the bookstore. The bookshelf includes books belonging to English, Russian and Urdu literature. Urdu translations of English and Russian literature are also kept, says Asad Alvi.

From then on­­wards, the open mic session, known as Nakaam Ishq Society, presented poetry, songs and quotes from those present at the event.

Originally published in Dawn, March 12th, 2017