How many of us have stacks of books which we no longer read? In a home with growing children, parents tend to buy books according to their ages. Most school going children in Pakistan also get new school textbooks annually. As children outgrow the books, they are often relegated to storage to make room for new books on the shelves. Similarly as adults, most of us have collected books over the years which we no longer read or need.
In the 2015 Karachi Literature Festival, the attending public had the chance to buy new books as well as donate their old books to a book bank. The book bank collection spots were set up around the festival venue in Coca-Cola’s old glass fronted coolers, refurbished to serve as bookshelves to collect the donated books.  Visitors were given complementary drinks in return for the donation.
The idea of the book bank was well received. More than 2000 books were collected! The books collected during the festival were reviewed by The Citizens Foundation (TCF) and those suitable for children’s use were collected to be sent to their schools. Other books will be sold off in the market to shops specializing in old books and the proceeds donated to TCF.  Both activities will serve to help the underprivileged.
Many of attendants at the Karachi Literature Festival also appreciated the idea of using the old coolers as bookshelves. The concept of upcycling is becoming popular and much of the focus of the world has turned to reuse of products at the end stage in another form as another product. This reduces the environmental footprint of the product.  Additionally, the book bank concept, in which books of all types can be available at a nominal price, can make books available for all, especially students who often feel the pinch of buying new books whilst they are studying. The festival has served as an ideal place to bring to life a product to be discarded, and to give new life to old books.
Coca-Cola Pakistan has previously also sponsored the complete construction of a TCF school in flood-affected Muzaffargarh district, and is also bearing the operational costs of the school for 3 years. Its ongoing support to education also extends to the CARE Foundation and to government schools, under the Adopt-a-School programme.