TLT, 26 August 2019
The British Council’s Libraries Unlimited Programme and the Department of Public Libraries have jointly initiated a year-long Public Library Campaign- “Cholo Gronthagare Cholo, Dekhi Somvabonar Alo” (Let’s visit the libraries to explore the possibilities) through a soft launch event earlier this year at the Sufia Kamal National Public Library in Dhaka.
So far, the campaign has taken place in three district government public libraries of Rangpur, Cox’s Bazar and Narayanganj. We have welcomed dynamic debaters, creative artists, fascinating storytellers, builders, youths from different communities, women, children and elderly people to the campaign.
Around 5000 direct participants have been engaged through a variety of competitions and discussion sessions. Around 2,70,000 more people were reached through pre and post-campaign activities. In collaboration with the Department of Public Libraries, the Libraries Unlimited Programme is going to implement this Public Library Campaign across twenty-five districts of Bangladesh. The campaign aims to promote the new services available in the Government Public Libraries of Bangladesh, such as learning to code with the Kano computer and micro:bit, building figures using toy bricks and ensuring proper utilisation of WiFi access and computer facilities.
The Public Library Campaign also aims to help define new roles and responsibilities of people around libraries, facilitating conversations on the role of the libraries in expediting community engagement. The private sectors are now reconsidering their role in supporting the public libraries and micro-entrepreneurs are discussing the role public libraries can play in supporting their ventures. Women, youth and children are finding themselves closer to their libraries than ever before.
An increase in the number of readers has already been reported in these three libraries after hosting the Public Library Campaigns. During the discussion sessions with the youths, it has been found that they were visiting the libraries for the first time through these campaigns, and among these youth over 60% were female.
The Libraries Unlimited is looking forward to the upcoming Public Library Campaigns in the rest of the districts.