“Access to public libraries should be viewed as a necessity and not a luxury in Pakistan”, 20-year-old social activist Jehangir Shams says, whereas lamenting what he believes is a quick declining tradition of studying within the nation.
Shams, a resident of Karoondi city in Sindh’s Khairpur district, says the tradition of studying in most underdeveloped areas of the nation is “bleak and forsaken since ages”. He blames the dearth of consideration given to public areas that may encourage the behavior.
Shams, along with different college students in Khairpur — in addition to some from Balochistan — has additionally just lately come to understand that there’s a common false impression that college students in lesser developed areas of the nation are usually not desirous about books to start with.
To counter this notion, and to inculcate a love for studying amongst townspeople, the enterprising pupils have launched library initiatives of their respective cities.
‘Reading for all’
“Most students in my town look for a decent, quiet place to prepare for their competitive examinations for jobs and for admission tests to different universities. Our aim, however, is to promote the idea that access to public libraries is a right for all (not just students),” Shams informed The News.
Shams is presently pursuing a level in legislative regulation from Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto University for Law (SZABUL) in Karachi. He can be the chairman for a marketing campaign referred to as Nojawan Ittihad Karoondi, run by his associates with a handful of funds, principally donated by feudals and fellow college students of his native city. The marketing campaign works for the welfare of the folks of Karoondi.
“We believe that this library will produce hundreds of brilliant minds which will definitely serve the country in the long-run. Just as access to basic necessities like food, shelter, and education is everybody’s right, access to libraries and quality books should not be limited to a specific class or culture,” he mentioned.
Speaking of his initiative’s fund-raising targets for the approaching 12 months, the younger activist mentioned that the library now wants donations for extra books, water dispensers, a discover board, wall clock, and pc techniques for analysis.
The library can accommodate 35-40 college students at a time, Shams mentioned, including that the mission additionally plans on increasing the area with extra donations and assist within the close to future.
‘Where there’s a will, there’s a manner’
Speaking of how the institution of the library was made potential, he mentioned that the land was gifted by Senior Advocate of Sindh High Court Haji Shamsuddin Rajper, who additionally donated round Rs 200,000.
“Rs300,000 for the remaining bills had been generated by fundraising campaigns led by the scholars of Karoondi,” Shams mentioned.
The library is presently operating on month-to-month donations from the residents of Karoondi, the activist added.
He mentioned that presently, all college students who go to the library, have free entry to web providers, audiovisual services, photocopying and printing, and may borrow books. Moreover, in addition they take part in workshops and seminars carried out beneath the mission.
“We have come so far with the help of generous donations from our elders and most students, however, to accomplish our future targets, we do look forward to support from students who can send us books from around the country,” the younger activist mentioned.
Reflecting on the challenges confronted by the mission in its early days, Shams mentioned: “We had nothing but a vision to revive the culture of reading in our small town. But, as they say: ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way’. Here we stand now, with one library successfully running in Karoondi, and another planned in Pacca Chang city in the coming days.”
Donations from throughout Pakistan
Another pupil, Sheikh Siraj, who helped set up the Wadh Students Library in Balochistan, additionally harassed on the necessity for studying books, saying he has considered a “steep decline” within the development.
“People are losing interest in books. An increasingly digital world with its abundance of information on one’s fingertips is slowly wiping out a ‘books culture’,” Siraj mentioned, including: “We thought of setting up this library in a bid to revive the lost glory of reading in our community.”
Siraj mentioned that the Wadh Students Library has about 2,000 titles spanning a number of genres, together with books for aggressive exams, pc sciences, philosophy, psychology, and historical past, to call just a few.
The majority of the individuals who go to the library are college students — aged 18-25 — as college, faculty, and high-school campuses are located close by.
“The daily footfall is over 30,” he mentioned, including that for now, the readers are usually not allowed to take the books dwelling. The ambiance is interesting sufficient to spend time sitting there and studying peacefully, he defined.
“Some students even come here to prepare for their semester finals and other exams as we have quite a soothing environment for readers here,” he mentioned.
Siraj mentioned that the trigger has been receiving donations from all around the nation, and presently, at the least 600 books in Islamabad await being transported to the library.
“People can contact us on our Facebook page ‘Wadh Students Library’ to donate to our cause,” he mentioned.
Government officers, together with the Khuzdar deputy commissioner, Frontier Corps, and different charitable souls helped us in establishing the library, Siraj mentioned, stressing that his mission is “not affiliated with any non-government organisation or political party”.
“We have a team of nearly 40 students who have volunteered for this initiative,” he mentioned, emphasising that they need to see their trigger rising with extra donations and participation from college students.