Journey through Bangladesh
Four Decades of the
Mymensingh Public Library
The Mymensingh District Government Library has been serving the region for almost four decades. It is located at Chhotto Bazar Road and was established in 1969 as the Pakistan Council Regional Center. It served the region that included Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Tangail, Sherpur, Netrokona and Kishoreganj districts. Fakruzzaman Chowdhury was the first Director of the then Pakistan Council.
After the Liberation War the library was renamed Bangladesh Parishad. During Ershad's regime, the activities of the Bangladesh Parishad were merged with the Department of Public Libraries and the library was further renamed The District Govt. Public Library 1982.
Operating in its own building, presently the library houses 35,656 volumes on all subjects. There is also a collection of rare books, original documents from the Liberation War and newspapers more than 30 years old.
250 readers, mostly students, regularly come to the library to read, mostly newspapers. The library is able to accommodate about 100 readers at a given time. Eleven national prominent English and Bengali dailies are subscribed.
The library also claimed that it subscribed to 12 magazines including two foreign magazines on a regular basis but on a recent visit, these magazines were not found. The readers also seemed unsatisfied with what was provided. The library is opened from 10 am to 6 pm all days except
Readers claim that many rare books have mysteriously disappeared in the last couple of years. Md. Waz Ali, a worker at the library admitted that some 50 books are lost every year.
Some torn books were found in piles, obviously uncared for. These books have been waiting for new bindings for the years, a source in the library said. There is an immediate need for preservation.
There are three types of members who can borrow books: general readers, students and children. For membership, a general member has to pay Tk. 300, a student Tk. 200 and a child member has to pay Tk. 100. The library also organizes different programs for the students marking the National days. There are essay and debate competitions and book displays.
ADM Ali Ahammad, Librarian, admitted that the library needs more books to give students all the help they can get. The library needs to be modernized with internet facilities, said the official.
Dr. Sarwar, a PhD holder from Japan who is a regular reader of the library suggested that the library should be open on government holidays to serve more readers. But the libraries in this country remain closed on Friday, which is not a good idea. A separate day should be picked as a library holiday. The timings should be changed and if possible, two shifts should be run to serve more readers, especially those involved in research work. He also asked that the library be brought up to date with modern technology.
(R) thedailystar.net 2007