Go by the book: Whither libraries?

Almost non-existent reading culture is a cause for concern for academics.

News Desk January 13, 2014
Almost non-existent reading culture is a cause for concern for academics. PHOTO: FILE

RAWALPINDI: To revive the reading culture, provision of low-priced books and small libraries in every neighbourhood is vital to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

This was underlined by intellectuals and academics at a brainstorming session organised by the Social Development Foundation (SDF) and Rawalpindi Arts Council to revive the book reading culture.

The objective of the session was to identify reasons behind the diminishing reading culture and evolving some strategy to revive it

The participants urged the government to provide book reading facilities at school, college and community levels besides providing some infrastructural support or tax discounts to the businessmen to encourage setting up of “mohalla” libraries as used to exist and were known as “anna “ libraries at the community level.

The United States embassy Deputy Cultural Attaché Judith Ravin while speaking as chef guest said that her country believes in the power of information which plays a pivotal role in shaping one’s personality by deepening the knowledge base and improving intelligence.

Referring to the Lincoln’s Corner, which offers a “window on America” and its people, history, society, geography, government and popular culture, she said, “Citizens are welcome to access information.”

SDF chairperson Sohail Chaudhry said, “A good book always gives you a good dream and hope, and it adds colour to one’s perspective. “

Writer Dr Ahsan Akbar said the government should form a short- and long-term strategy to promote book reading.

There should be subsidy on books and efforts should be made for availability of low-priced books, said a participant. Journalist and short story writer Farida Hafeez, Rana Abdul Baqi, Dr Ravash Nadeem, Arif Waqar, Mehboob Zafar among others also participated in the discussion.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2014.


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