Records which cease to be current but continue to be informative and important are called archives. It is only when its current use comes to an end its archival value begins, its importance as raw material of history and as source of inspiration and guidance for administrators and statements cannot be exaggerated. The value of archives lies in the fact that it is not only a record of the past but it presents a picture of the whole relationship of men involved in arriving at a particular decision. Hence there is need for the preservation of archives as an evidence of history so that historical knowledge could be improved in the light of better and better methods.
Being realized its significance and the strategic position of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the then NWFP, in August, 1946, a separate Directorate of Archives, then called the “Central Record Office” was set up in the Victoria Memorial Hall (Now called Peshawar Museum on the recommendation of Indian Historical and Record Commission.
The reasons for the establishment of Central Record Office was for the concentration and preservation of official record, advancement of historical research in the province and to restore all the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa record previously transferred to the custody of the Imperial Record Department Delhi.
Prof: S. M. Jaffar its first custodian was deputed to Delhi to restore the official record of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lying in custody of Imperial Record Department, India. The process of shifting of record was completed in July, 1947, just before the holocaust that followed the partition of India. The office remained in the Victoria Memorial Hall till 1973. In 1973 the Archives Department was shifted to the Divisional Council Hall, Shahi Bagh, Peshawar
In 1985, the Directorate of Archives and Libraries was shifted to the Benevolent Fund Building to accommodate its increasing collections. The Department remained in Benevolent Fund Building till 1992. The struggle and dream for the establishment of its own building finally come true and a beautiful Complex in the heart of Peshawar surrounded by Governor House, M.P.A. Hostel, Peshawar Museum and Civil Secretariat was built for the Directorate of Archives & Libraries, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 1992 due to the great efforts of its former Director Mr. Tariq Mansoor Jalali. The subject of libraries was assigned to this office in 1990 and the Directorate was re-designated as the Directorate of Archives and Libraries.
The Directorate of Archives and Libraries, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is working as an attached Department of Higher Education, Archives & Libraries Department Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Under the supervision of Higher Education, the Directorate is on the track of development and, till 1994 the Directorate had only three public libraries i.e. Peshawar, Abbottabad and Mardan now the facility is being extended to D.I.Khan, Bannu, Swat, Swabi, Timergara, Akora Khattak (Nowshera), and Haripur Districts. The Public Libraries at Chitral, Lakki Marwat and Kohat are ready for operation. An ADP scheme for the establishment of Public Libraries at Mansehra, Buner, Charsadda Districts and at Tehsil Ghazi has been approved by the Provincial Government and these new libraries are expected to be completed till June, 2018. Establishment of Public Libraries at Upper Dir, Karak, Hungu and Nowshera are in the pipe line.
Peshawar Public Library which is recently renamed as SHUHADA-E-APS PUBLIC LIBRARY is one of the largest Public Library of the Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa having collection of more than 140,000 books on different subjects. The Library is providing services through out the week including Saturday and Sunday. The Directorate has been assigned the task to establish the Public Library network throughout the Province at District Level in phased manner. This Directorate is trying its best to establish Public Libraries in the remaining districts up to 2020