Life of a legend

Life of a legend – My School Librarian

[The more one learns, the more one develops an urge to learn. The real quest in your life is to accept challenges and accomplish them]. Those were the words I first read in my school library in 1976. And that made all the difference.

I feel proud of being a student of St. Mary’s High School Peshawar where I studied till 1983. Quite often I miss the wonderful time that I spent under the care of capable teachers. I was particularly impressed by our Librarian Madam Maria Parveen. I am proud that I served under her as a Library Prefect. I found her the best mentor. I write this article to pay my tribute and to commemorate the 2nd Death Anniversary of Madam Maria Parveen. She served as a dedicated librarian in St. Mary’s High School Peshawar, from 1980 to 2005.

Madam Maria Parveen’s commendable dedication to spreading knowledge cannot be summed in words. She was a visionary spirit. In the early 80’s she pursued the School Principal, Bro. Francis Sales Fernando, in expanding the scope of the library to a Computerized Learning Center. Due to her efforts, the first computer centre in St. Mary’s Library was set up in June 1982. I distinctly remember helping Madam Maria Parveen lay the cables and set up the computers. It was inaugurated by Ms Kapadia from St. Joseph’s Convent Karachi. She commented, “This school library will inspire the pursuit of lifelong learning”.

Madam Maria Parveen had a spark in her life. She played a pivotal role in the effective functioning of the library. She catalogued all the available books and enlarged the school budget for adding volumes of fiction and non-fiction books, reference, literature, biographies, general knowledge books, fables and folktales, craft books and poetry. She had the essential skills to guide and support every library user. She was our information specialist and an instructional partner.

‘Devotion to St. Mary’s and its pupils’, was Madam Maria Parveen’s dictum. She handpicked books for St. Mary’s from London Book Co. and Saeed Book Bank Peshawar. She encouraged us to read more for pleasure and enrich our intellectual, artistic, cultural, social and emotional growth. She created the ambience of the school’s library conducive to effective learning. She regularized periodic library sessions for the students, who would otherwise had access only during their break-time. She organized teachers’ library visits for their professional development and prepared reference material to plan and implement effective teaching.

Madam Maria Parveen’s free spirit and creativity set her apart. Her career as the Chief librarian lasted over 25 years. She was not merely a custodian of books: She was a consultant, an information provider, an instructional reader. She helped students in achieving their goals. She often said ‘Curriculums and library are interrelated and must co-exist’.

Madam Maria Parveen breathed her last on 22nd April 2020. She will be long remembered by St. Marians for her commitment and perseverance. The Maria Parveen Memorial Library & Computer Center is an online centre set up on 20th June 2020 in continuance of her pursuit. Please feel free to visit this centre anytime.


Disclaimer: Compiled voluntarily on 22nd April 2022 by Azeem Ullah Khan, Student St. Mary’s, Class of 1983. Does not represent St. Mary’s School in any official capacity.