Public libraries play an important role in developing reading habits of any area. They also provide the serenity and solitude necessary for academic work. Sindh has been an unfortunate land in the sense that it has had a dearth of quality public libraries since very long. The Sindhis in the interior particularly have a hard time finding good and interesting books as per their aptitude. And that is, unfortunately, true of citizens of all our cities, towns and districts. As a result, Sindhis are forever starved of indepth information about national and international affairs and know only the bits that are published in the ethnic newspapers and local magazines. Karachi, of course is an exception but all other major cities of Sindh, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Larkana etc are with out any quality public libraries. There are none at the level of district headquarters either. So where can the poor seekers of knowledge go? But this was not always so, I am told. Sindh was once a centre of learning and excellence. Many people from across the neighbouring regions and as far as the Far East used to come here to fulfill their thirst for knowledge. That spirit of the yester years is to be revived again and it would be possible only when we show some seriousness about expanding the scope and quality of our centres of learning. That would also necessarily entail having high-standard public libraries, and a lot of themat least one in every district headquarters of the province. The quality of the existing public libraries should also be enhanced so that our citizens can engage in pursuit of knowledge and recreation commensurate to their needs and interest. This would enrich their mental capacities of thought and action and would enable them to contribute in a more enabled and meaningful way to the society. -ABDUL SAMAD SAMO, Karachi, March 4.