Most public libraries in Bangladesh are in a miserable condition as they lack both printed and digital resources, a study by the British Council has found.
The “Library Landscape Assessment of Bangladesh” released on Wednesday reveals over half (52%) of all librarians think they are lacking printed materials, while almost four out of every five (78%) are dissatisfied with the lack of digital resources.
The report was based on an assessment of 136 public libraries at the district and upazila levels, and found that 43% of all librarians believe insufficient ICT facilities would be a “major challenge”.
The key findings were presented on the final day of a two-day policy dialogue in Dhaka Wednesday by Syeed Ahmed, CEO of the Institute of Informatics and Development (IID).
“When the country is advancing towards achieving the vision of 'Digital Bangladesh', the libraries – the heart of the informative society – have somehow been excluded from the development plan,” he noted.
The British Council, in collaboration with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, is implementing a nationwide project – “Libraries Unlimited” – to develop the library sector in Bangladesh.
British Council with IID as its policy partner will support relevant ministries to develop a shared vision of 21st century libraries across Bangladesh that embeds the country’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provide communities with access to information, knowledge and skills development.
The policy dialogue was initiated to bring together top level policy makers and thinkers around the need to prioritize services for public libraries and ways to transform these libraries to make them more equipped to meet today’s demand for information and knowledge.
Speakers and participants at the policy dialogue discussed a wide array of issues, including library activities, information marketing and best possible practices for the libraries in the country, along with the focal points for formulating the country's first ever library policy.
Sarwat Masuda Reza, library manager of British Council, Bangladesh, said the recommendations from the policy dialogue would be presented to the ministries concerned before National Librarian Day on February 5.