THERE are less than 200 public libraries in Pakistan, and most of them happen to be in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh. Balochistan, being the most deprived province in every field, has hardly 8-10 public libraries which, along with the lack of other basic educational facilities, is a cause of frustration.
Due to lack of public libraries, private libraries are being introduced in Quetta. They are much different from public libraries where a reader is supposed to bring reading material of one’s own. These libraries consist of small rooms or a relatively large hall where seats with small wooden tables are placed side by side.
Access to such libraries has to be paid for. How can the students bear another financial burden amid rising inflation in the country?
Considering the fact that Balochistan has the lowest literacy rate and the highest poverty rate in the country, the government should set up more public libraries across the province, or, at least establish reading rooms in major cities where students may read without having to pay for using the facility.
Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2022