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Tajik Regional Officials Ordered To Read More Books

Librarians have been ordered to sign up all local officials at their libraries.
Librarians have been ordered to sign up all local officials at their libraries.
QURGHONTEPPA, Tajikistan -- Officials in southern Tajikistan have been ordered to enroll at local libraries and read more books, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Khatlon Province Deputy Governor for Ideology Sitora Sherova said at a book exhibition in Qurghonteppa this week that most visitors to libraries are schoolchildren and students.

Local librarian Rohatoy Yusufova told RFE/RL that Sherova ordered librarians to sign up all local officials at the library -- including the regional governor, to recommend what they should read, and to take books to their offices.

Zarina Aksakalova, who heads the Kamol Khudjandi Library in Qurghonteppa, told RFE/RL that local officials are not active members of her library and are mainly interested in books by Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.

Aksakalova added that some officials do order books which library staff then deliver to their offices.

Nargis Murodalieva, the deputy head of Khatlon State Insurance Company, criticized Sherova's orders. She pointed out that today newspapers and books can be downloaded from the Internet to mobile phones, so there is no need to visit libraries.

Murodalieva said Khatlon has more important ideological tasks than forcing officials to become members of local libraries.

Some librarians nonetheless say there has already been an increase in the number of officials visiting libraries since Sherova's statement.