MULTAN: Citizens are expressing a keen interest in the recently established e-libraries which aim to inculcate a culture of online reading and learning in society.
“Currently, there are 21 e-libraries under the Punjab Information and Technology Board (PITB) and the Punjab Sports Board (PSB) established in different districts across Punjab,” said Librarian Muhammad Saleem.
During the initial stages, the purpose of the libraries was to promote information related to sports. However, the government expanded the scope of the project and converted the project into a general e-library, he explained.
“All the e-libraries that have been built are located adjacent to sports complexes,” he added. The libraries have millions of books covering a wide array of topics. A large number of the collection has been taken from the Higher Education Commission (HEC), he maintained.
Students completing their MPhil and PhD degrees make up the majority of visitors. In addition to them, young professionals also frequent the library because we are providing resources which online search engines can’t, he claimed.
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Citizens can find theses, Oxford references, Pakistani laws, press clippings, annual company reports and the indexes of Pakistani periodicals. This also encourages authors and publishers to provide an online version of their material, he said.
E-libraries are economical and ensure easy access, Saleem said. The library grants its users a personal, non-exclusive, non-transferable access to its complete inventory.
“Users can download material for personal, educational, informational and non-commercial use,” he explained.
Regarding books for children, Saleem revealed that the library houses 400 books for young kids.
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In addition to housing volumes on several topics, the digital library also conducts computer courses and English language courses free-of-cost. The library has one seminar hall, three reading rooms, Wifi, 30 laptops, 15 tablets and many other facilities for members, he said.
Regarding future plans, Saleem stated that the e-library will arrange a three-month-long e-rozgar training programme which students with 16 years of education can avail.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2018.