To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Libraries in Pakistan: a systemic study

Khalid Mahmood (Department of Library & Information Science, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan)
Abdul Hameed (Department of Special Education, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan)
Syed Jalaluddin Haider (Department of Library & Information Science, University of Karachi, Pakistan)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 1 January 2006



The purpose of this study is to answer the following questions: what are an open system and its components? How can the open system model be used to describe a library system including its objectives and functions? What is the situation of librarianship in Pakistan in terms of the elements, characteristics and features of an open system model?


The study is based on a review of the literature. The challenges which are faced by librarianship today are presented as a supra‐system of a library system. Inputs (people, knowledge, material, energy, capital and finance), processes, outputs and feedback mechanism of Pakistani librarianship are described. Characteristics of an open system such as users, controller, cycle of events, teleology, mission and negative entropy are presented with special reference to libraries in Pakistan.


That the Library system in Pakistan would benefit from the application of an open systems approach, but resource and other constraints prevent this from happening.

Research limitations/implications

Attempts to show how open systems theory can be applied to the sphere of a national library system.

Practical implications

The barriers to implementing the systems model offered in this paper are essentially practical: resource constraints, political priorities, and related social or governmental factors.


The paper is useful not only to understand how a library can be studied using systems theory but also to have a picture of the present state of librarianship in Pakistan.



Mahmood, K., Hameed, A. and Jalaluddin Haider, S. (2006), "Libraries in Pakistan: a systemic study", Library Review, Vol. 55 No. 1, pp. 20-34.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited