"Men look beautiful with the jewel of knowledge. Beauty lies not in arms but in education," says Irfanullah Khan, 65, patriarch of the family who gifted the plot for the new library in Darra Adamkhel. The town, mostly known for its black-market bazaars stocked with forged American rifles, has built a reputation as a "wild west" waypoint between Pakistan and Afghanistan. But attitudes are slowly changing, especially among the younger generation. "I've always wished that we would have a library here, and my wish has come true," says 28-year-old arms dealer Muhammad Jahanzeb. The library began as a solitary reading room in 2018. Now it has more than 500 members and it is thriving, offering titles including Virginia Woolf's classic Mrs. Dalloway, installments in the teenage vampire romance series Twilight, and Life, Speeches and Letters by Abraham Lincoln. "When people see young people in their neighborhood becoming doctors and engineers, others also start sending their children to school," librarian Shafiullah Afridi believes. There are other promising aspects too: one in 10 members is female -- a figure remarkably high for the tribal areas. "My mother's dream is for me to become a doctor," school girl Hareem Saeed, 5, says shyly. "If I study here, I can make her dream come true."

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