ISLAMABAD: The government of Punjab has set up an e-library in Rawalpindi offering free access to thousands of digitized books and other publications.
The facility, at Nawaz Sharif Park, will also provide easy access to research material, making it particularly useful for students and scholars.
The launch of the library is part of a wider initiative, with similar facilities planned in a further 20 districts in Punjab on the orders of the province’s chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif.
Chief librarian Sher Afzal Malik said the e-libraries will help promote reading and a culture of research.
The library is open to everyone, with no membership fee or other charges. It contains 30 laptops and five tablet computers, providing access to more than 10,000 e-books, magazines and other publications.
The library will also provide a range of other services to users that can help them earn money through online jobs and businesses.
In addition, it will offer training courses, while a sports department will host visits by leading athletes to meet and encourage young people to participate in sport and recreational facilities at a variety of levels.
The number of traditional public libraries in Pakistan has drastically declined in recent decades. Some research and educational facilities owned and operated by British and American authorities were shut down after the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001. The rise of the Internet further weakened the book-reading culture among young people.