Lacking facility: A library that lacks ‘valuable’ books

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In times of speedy search engines, access to reference books remains an ordeal for some university students. Devoid of a functional library system on campus, students at the Institute of Business and Management Sciences (IBMS), University of Agriculture Peshawar depend entirely on lecture notes.

Waqas Khan, a student of Information Technology (IT), said that even though the university was established under a self-finance scheme and earns revenue, it still lacks study material corresponding to the courses it offers.

Another student, Nadeem Shah, said. “I’m in the final year of my degree but have never been able to find anything related to my courses in the library.”Noorullah Jan, a student of IT, said that this technological era, referencing the outdated literature is no use at all. He quoted some senior students, saying that the handful books that the library had at the time of its inception, were later sold out.

The university librarian, Attaullah, said the library had around 120,000 pirated books when it was initiated in 1998. He added that they were forced to buy pirated books due since they were cheaper than original prints but they had to be sold out, owing to “legal issues” in 2005.

The librarian further said that they have all the basic books for both the management and Computer Science students in the reference section, however they cannot be issued due to scarcity.

He said that the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has approved a grant of Rs16 million for purchasing books, which will be soon impelemented.

Attaullah also said that they were paying Rs3.5 million annually to the HEC for the subscription of the digital library and all the students can benefit from it.

When contacted, IBMS Director Dr Munir Khan Khattak said, “None of the students should have problems regarding their course material, the teachers are providing them all related material in the classes.” He added that they have established a number of photocopy outlets in the university and spread the academic material there for the facilitating the students.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2013.