Education Minister, Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan, announced on Wednesday that Government of Punjab will be establishing digital libraries in schools and colleges across the province.
The announcement was made during the inaugural ceremony of a three-day international conference on “Information Management and Libraries” at Punjab University. He was addressing the Vice-Chancellor PU Mujahid Kamran, the Department of Information Management Chairperson Prof Dr. Kanwal Ameen, Professor from USA Dr Sanda Elederz, faculty members, librarians and a large number of students that were present on the occasion.
Mashhood said that the Punjab government is going to start a program called “e-learn Punjab” in the province in future to promote education. Additionally, the government is planning to establish a vast network of libraries in the province.
“Unfortunately, as a nation we have neglected libraries. The government is planning to establish a vast network of libraries. Soon, there will be no area in the province without a library. The government is trying to improve primary and higher education as well as technical and vocational education,” he said.
Mashhood commended Punjab University for starting formal education in library sciences a century ago. “Punjab University has played a remarkable role in promoting a reading culture among the youth,” he said.
In her keynote speech on “Information and Library Services in a Connected World”, Professor Sanda Elederz highlighted that tools of accessing information have changed drastically over the years. “This has brought about new challenges. Developments in the information and communication technology, storage and applications have achieved new levels of sophistication. It is a challenge for professionals in the information management field,” she said.
“By using today’s technology, libraries can outgrow their local selves. We should adopt a more global and connected approach,” Dr. Sanda said. She said that public libraries are facing a shortage of funds and it should be a cause of concern.
Kanwal Ameen said that more than 500 guests from Asia, Middle East, Europe, and USA were participating in the conference. “Eighty authors will contribute 57 presentations, including three keynote speeches, 13 invited papers, 15 full papers, nine short papers, seven best practices, and 10 short presentations during the conference,” she said.
Pakistan has seen a great reduction in the number of public libraries over the years. This has been the local effect of a global decrease in the reading culture. Moreover, as Prof. Sandra highlighted, the nature of information accessing tools have changed. Today, information can be more conveniently accessed through the facility of internet. So, the Punjab Government’s plans will prove to be very fruitful for students upon its realization. With digital libraries, students will be able to access their desired books, research papers and course material at any hour of the day and at any place they want.