Public libraries play a very important role in creating knowledge based societies. Importance of public libraries has been realized at national and international levels. Present paper highlights the concept of public libraries in the contemporary societies. This study focuses public libraries in terms of infrastructure, collection development, collection organization, human resources and services. Scope of the study is limited to the two districts of Jammu and Kashmir state (India) viz., Srinagar and Budgam. Questionnaire and personal interview methods were adopted for collecting the data. Results of the study indicate that public libraries under the scope of present study are ailing on different fronts like physical infrastructure, collection development, services and human resources. Majority of public libraries in both districts are housed in rented buildings and are facing space problems. Collection available in libraries varies. Traditional services like lending of documents, reprographic services are being provided by the libraries and services based on ICT like internet based services are provided by a small number of libraries. Dewey decimal classification is used by majority of libraries for organising their collection. While staff working in public libraries of District Srinagar is mostly professionals but those working in public libraries of district Budgam are mostly non-professionals. It is suggested that appropriate measures taken by the governments in consultation with the experts in the field of library and information science can be the panacea for all the problems faced by these libraries. It is appropriate to integrate ICT facet into the functioning of public libraries for facing the challenges in a knowledge based society.