L. C Key Report about Libraries (Colombo Plan for Pakistan)

The history of the Colombo Plan for Cooperative Economic and Social Development in Asia and the Pacific, is one of the oldest regional inter-governmental organizations dates far back as 1950, when the idea was first conceived to enhance economic and social development of the countries of the region. The Colombo Plan was established on 1 July 1951 by Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom and currently has expanded to 28 member countries including non-Commonwealth countries and countries belonging to regional groupings such as ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation). The Colombo Plan is a partnership concept of self-help and mutual-help in development aimed at socio-economic progress of its member countries.


Consequently, L. C. Key of Australia was invited under the
Colombo Plan, to prepare a library development plan for the country. Key submitted his report in 1956 (Key, 1956). The Key Plan did not materialize; yet it did influence the thinking of librarians in the country. This is evident in library developments that took place in the second-half of 1950s, particularly at Karachi, the then capital of the country. Of these developments, mention may be made of the formation of Pakistan Library Association (PLA) and the establishment of Pakistan National Scientific and Technical Documentation Center (PANSDOC), both in 1957, launching of publication of Pakistan Library Review (1958), and the promulgation of Basic Democracy Order (1959). But the most important event of this decade was the institution of Post-Graduate
Diploma Course in Library Science in August 1956 at the University of Karachi, followed by the University of the Punjab in 1959.

Since its independence no scheme for the development of Libraries was devised to develop the Libraries on modern lines. Several commission have been set up by the Government to conduct surveys by the experts but all of them got go nothing. In 1949 Late Dr. Abdul Moid prepared a plan known as “NATIONAL PLAN FOR LIBRARY SERVICES IN PAKISTAN” in which 3200 Libraries were recommended on national leve l and one each for provincial head quarter, regional district and municipal town and even mobile libraries for remote areas were also suggested, but the Government had not taken any interest in this regard. In 1956 Mr.L.C Key has prepared report under the scheme of the colombo plan known as” report and proposal on the establishment and improvement of Library service in Pakistan” in this proposal some 36 Libraries were recommended as one National Library two provincial and one for each university 20 for colleges and one special Library was proposed, but the Government has thrown the report in the cold storage.In 1959 a special scheme was organised by the Govt: of Pakistan to establish public library system, with the justification that each province, division, district, tehsil and union c ouncil will be provided with a library. To some extent the scheme has been implemented. In 1980 on the advice of Ex president of Pakistan General Muhammad Ziaul Haq technical working group was constituted by the ministry of Education under the chairmanship of Dr. Anis Khurshid with the member of each province and Federal area. The group visited remote and unapproachable areas of the country, cond ucted interviews/survey programmes and prepared a comprehensive report. It was suggested that 8,000 libraries will be established in the six five year plan, but the scheme has not been implemented. Although the Govt: has established National Library Islamabad and Provincial Library in each Provincial Headquarter.

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