Role of libraries in peace, security

Abid Hussain

SINCE 9/11 there has been massive discussion on peace and security. Many strategies and suggestions have been presented by subject expert to overcome this menace of terrorism. Unrest is everywhere in the globe and peoples are trying to bring forward some strategy which is helpful for the citizens to let them in peace and secure environment. Governments all over the world have the obligation to maintain peace, security, and protection of the lives and properties of individuals. The important function of the Government is to guarantee the rights and freedoms of its citizens. National security is a part of the major challenges. The use of information can help wind down the effects of the series of terrorist attacks, intra- and inter-ethnic catastrophes, and religious and communal clashes that have resulted in the destruction of lives and properties.
The libraries are playing a key role by promoting national security and peace among the masses. As we know that libraries are sources of information in printed and electronic shape, Information issued with the aim of improving behaviour through new ideas or knowledge extracted from changes and increased efficiency in all human in an environment. Information is needed at all times by governments and citizens; it helps make them aware of happenings around them.
When people are informed they know how to act, what to do in times of crises and how to be more security conscious. When people are well informed, they are able to participate in political and developmental activities. They can relate to the media and other information, content providers, express themselves easily, contribute ideas and cultures, and learn about the beliefs and customs of others. Over the years, libraries have been instrumental in providing individuals with the opportunity to access a range of information. This information, be it electronic or otherwise, has been invaluable in helping to shape opinion, as well as form a basis on which decisions are made. Such information enables accurate and timely actions, and ultimately helps to contribute positive outcomes. Libraries can, therefore, be seen as an agent of socialization through their provision of information in printed and electronic formats.
Nations peace and security are important not only to the government, but to all people all over the globe. The development of any society to a large extent depends on the security of lives and properties of all citizens. From the period of the American Revolution, WWI, and WWII to the Afghanistan War to the present time, libraries have been instrumental in giving the government and civil society news, information, and feedback to help chart meaningful paths for their lives, thereby, enhancing effective decision making.
The fact Information must be made available that can promote peace, unity, progress, peaceful coexistence and harmonious relations among all communities in libraries. Librarians, in providing access to such information, should be instrumental in promoting peace and sectarian reconciliation. Libraries provide individuals and the community with a variety of printed and electronic information on issues important to a nation. In times of political violence, religious extremism, communal violence, and disputes of maritime security and transnational crime amongst others, communities, citizenry, and leaders can all come together and access useful information for peaceful resolution.
Libraries should focus on social networking to enlighten the public. They should collaborate with other information specialists like the media and public relation officers to organize seminars, lectures, conferences, book fairs, workshops, displays, and exhibitions on current issues and news publication about the subject. They can also provide current information to the public through the use of newspaper clippings, electronic resource maintenance, references, and reprographic services of selective dissemination of information, social networking platforms, and current awareness services to support bibliotherapy, peace keeping, and become a forceful agent of change in the society. Our leaders in Pakistan should also be proactive in the aspect of securing the lives and properties of every citizen.
Peace and security to the citizen is possible by educating them with the latest information and libraries are sources of information in printed and electronic format. The libraries are a key institution by helping the security persons and citizens to overcome this curse. The librarians and information experts can provide the best information to the citizens where from one can educate himself, herself to promote peace and blot out terrorism through knowledge, and knowledge can get by reading more and more books and citizens can’t buy books in its pocket money, only libraries can help them to educate them by bringing peace and harmony in the citizens.
– The writer is Library Officer at Institute of Strategic Studies, a think-tank based in Islamabad.

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