The British Council’s Libraries Unlimited Programme and the Department of Public Libraries have organized a workshop titled “Policy Workshop on the Formulation of a National Policy for Public Libraries” at the Westin Hotel Dhaka, recently. The objective of this day-long workshop was to review the draft policy for public libraries and collect recommendations from the stakeholders. Dr. Roknuzzaman, Professor, Department of Information Science and Library Management, University of Dhaka, presented the draft policy during the event.
In the opening ceremony of the workshop, Dr. Md. Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal, ndc, Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, attended as the chief guest. Mr.Tom Miscioscia, Country Director, British Council, Bangladesh, Mr. A J M Abdullahel Baki, Director Department of Public Libraries and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Mr. Abdullah Harun Pasha, Director, Department of Public Libraries and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs attended as special guests. Dr. Abdul Mannan Ilias, Director General (in charge), Department of Public Libraries and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs presided over the inaugural ceremony. Including the British Council and the Department of Public Libraries staff, over 100 participants attended this workshop.
During his keynote speech the Chief guest, Dr. Md. Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal, ndc, Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs said, “We need to regenerate the reading habit among the new generation and create the bridge between libraries and readers of this generation. Our focus should be developing a child-friendly environment in every libraries. A robust policy framework and a comprehensive national policy is required for the development of public libraries and make the services to be effective and updated for upcoming days.”
Mr.Tom Miscioscia, Country Director, British Council, Bangladesh said, “The advent of new technologies has changed some of our reading habits. But our need for shared, community-centred spaces to find information and connect with others is unlikely to change any time soon. To survive in the digital age and stay relevant, public libraries need to be brave and innovative. They must embrace both the physical and virtual. Libraries must offer more than just books. I have no doubt that this refreshed vision and framework can assist in increasingly positioning public libraries as hubs for innovation, skills development and community engagement across the country. Through this work there is no doubt that libraries can also play a vital role in the future development of Bangladesh as a country.
Mr. A J M Abdullahel Baki, Director Department of Public Libraries and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs stated, “To prepare the draft policy, we have interviewed over 1000 relevant stakeholders. The draft policy accommodates the opinion and recommendations of the people who are related to public librararies starting from readers to every relavant stakeholders”. Mr. Baki was optimistic that the new policy will be the mirror of needs of 21st century.
Mr. Abdullah Harun Pasha, Director, Department of Public Libraries and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs said, “The existing policy is not compatible for the 21st century. To we will be discussing over the draft policy. Upon your opinion and recommendations, we will finalize the policy and send it to the ministry. We need to incorporate the idea of Modern Library concept in the new policy.”
Ms. Kirsty Crawford, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (FCLIP), Programme Director, Libraries Unlimited said that “This national policy can position Bangladesh libraries to create opportunities for all through knowledge, learning and information, and ensure the sustainability, the continuing development, the credibility and the visibility of public libraries in the country.”
While addressing the audience, the chair of the inauguration ceremony, Mr. Md. Abdul Mannan Ilias, Director General (in charge), Department of Public Libraries and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs said, “Stakeholders consultation has been phenomenal while preparing this well structured draft policy. One of the key goals of SDG is to develop a knowledge based society. The new policy accommodates the idea of transforming public libraries into a mode achieving Sustainable Development of Goal of Bangladesh.
To be mentioned, the first national policy workshop on the development of a policy for public libraries was held on 28 April 2019. This day-long national-level policy workshop of today was the part of an ongoing process for the formulation of a national policy for the public libraries of Bangladesh.