Balochistan is a province that lacks quality educational facilities, one of the most important and useful being digital libraries. There is no denying of the fact that the province also lacks physical libraries; however, an efficient and freely accessible library can fill the void, as it is more convenient to use. A digital platform would allow the students to connect through virtual events i.e. webinars. Digital libraries consist of manuscripts, books, audio and video content and visual materials. Considering the technological revolution, a digital space as a source of information would be very beneficial to young professionals and students in the province.

Digital libraries can make it easy for students in the province to access knowledge and information. With a digital library, people of Balochistan would be able to widen their horizon by accessing diverse books and connecting with people from around the world. It would also serve as a source to acquire knowledge about the history, culture, leaders, and resources of the province. It will not only cater to students, but it will also serve a space for teachers, researchers, officers, and people from different professions to partake. Digital libraries are a supplement to physical libraries. For example, if a library cannot provide a hard copy of a book, then it can easily serve a student by providing a soft copy of the book.

Among its many other benefits, digital libraries offer services without inflicting much damage to the environment, not to mention the fact that it is economical. Considering the economy of the province, and the country, a digital library could be a viable option to cater to the needs of the students without allocating a large amount of budget on education. The cost of maintaining a digital library is much lower than the cost of establishing a traditional library. Traditional libraries usually have to bear the cost of many things including library staff, books, rent, etc. Since Balochistan is already facing a shortage of libraries and has insufficient funds to establish libraries in each city, it could make use of the idea of the digital library by availing services to all on a low budget.

One of the most intriguing features of a digital library is that it can be accessed anywhere and at any time. Students, or be it anyone in the field of academia, mostly find physical libraries inaccessible. In the case of Balochistan, where physical libraries are limited in number, it gets hard for students to commute to the locations of the libraries. Thus, the option of a digital library would make the process of research easier. Even though the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan provides a digital platform to access research papers, it lacks other visual and literary resources. A comprehensive digital library should consist of all sorts of information transpiring across academic papers, novels, documentaries, etc. By using a similar model as used by HEC, the Education Ministry of Balochistan can establish an inclusive platform, which students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds can make use of.

Moreover, digital libraries entail multiple benefits for the environment as it reduces the use of plastic and paper by availing the information in a digital platform. A shift from physical libraries to digital libraries could also be used as a way to create awareness about the environmental consequences of paper books. In collaboration with the public and private universities in the province, the Education Minister of Balochistan can work to implement the model of a digital library to enact the concept in all educational institutions in the province. The education minister could also urge professors and teachers to encourage the use of soft copies of books. Hence, the idea of the digital library can be the baseline for other environmental projects as well.


About Author

The writer belongs to Khuzdar, Balochistan and is currently pursuing her Bachelors in English Literature. She's passionate about writing on issues regarding Balochistan, aiming to bring positive changes around her.

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