As the human race moved from the Paleolithic to the current phases of the Neolithic period, the learning process developed from inscriptions on stones to clay tablets, from papyrus to papers and, ultimately, to digital technology. From ancient times to the present, public libraries have become open universities that are more democratic in the provision of educational and information services and the preservation of cultural heritage, regardless of gender and belief. This study attempts to understand reading trends and the use of citizens’ resources in public libraries in the age of technology as an open university.
The data for this study on regular visitors, permanent library members, and information on the library inventory was collected from each public library administration through personal visits and interviews. In addition, data on regional population and literacy rates were collected from the Government of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Bureau of Statistics. The authors used descriptive statistics to analyze data for comparative studies.
The results show that daily visitors, regular library members and their use of library resources are decreasing compared to the literacy rate in each district. It was also concluded that, due to a lack of education and training in the area of information and digital literacy, the accessed database resources are not used properly. Moreover, each densely populated district relies on a single public library to meet general education and information needs.
The results of this study will help the government expand the network of public libraries at the union council level with competent working staff to increase general motivation to improve reading and resource usage trends. Given the current literacy and population growth in each district, the law on the public library can also be amended and implemented to support the existing library system better and create more libraries in the public interest.
This study was conducted for the first time to determine the current state of public libraries in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and to help public library authorities improve their existing public library service status based on the results.
Rafi, M., Ahmad, K. and Jian Ming, Z. (2020), "Increasing or decreasing reading trend: an overview of the current status of the public libraries in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan", Library Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/LM-01-2020-0006Download as .RIS
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