An Exclusive interview with Dr Md. Nazim Uddin
Dr Md. Nazim Uddin, Senior Manager and Head, Library and Information Services, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) has recently talked with the Librarian Times regarding the recent issues of library profession and activities.
Dr Md. Nazim Uddin obtained PhD from Jadavpur University, West Bengal, India. Before that, he completed his Diploma and after that, he also completed Master of Arts in Library Science from the University of Dhaka with a distinction. He published a good number of articles on emerging issues of Library and Information Science in reputed journals. He attended local and international conferences, seminars, and workshops. Dr Nazim travelled to USA, UK, Germany, Italy, Japan, England, France, Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka and India as part of the professional development. He worked closely with IFLA and Regional Federation of South Asian Library Associations (REFSALA) for the development of library profession in Bangladesh. He also worked for the development and improvement of Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons (BCPS) Library. Currently, he engages himself with INASP, Library Consortium of Bangladesh (LiCoB) which is coordinated and supported by Bangladesh Academy of Sciences (BAS), Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC), and collaboration with other organizations for the development of libraries and upgrading library profession in Bangladesh.
Dr Nazim has been working in the field of Library and Information Science for over 30 years. He worked in the government sector for more than seven years respectively in Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPATC) Library and Forest Directorate Library under the Ministry of Forest, Government of Bangladesh. After that he started, as the head, taking care of BRAC University Library in February 2003 and then he led East West University Library during June 2004-July 2008.
Recently, The Librarian Times conducted an interview with Dr Nazim to discuss openly regarding the contemporary issues of the library profession and activities in Bangladesh. On the behalf of TLT the interview was conducted by Ahasan Habib the Associate Editor of the bulletin.
TLT: Please tell us something about your library.
Dr Nazim: Thank you. If you want to know about our library, please visit https://www.research4life.org/casestudies/nazim-uddin/ the site and know about a modern medical library of icddr,b which is located at Mohakhali, Dhaka, Bangladesh. This site is established by the Research4Life which is the collective name for the five programmes – Hinari, AGORA, OARE, ARDI and GOALI– that provide developing countries with free or low-cost access to academic and professional peer-reviewed content online.
TLT: What sorts of challenges are you currently facing while providing library services to scientists and researchers?
Dr Nazim: We have a huge number of resources that we subscribe through icddr,b; the Library Consortium of Bangladesh (LiCoB); UGC Digital Library (UDL), and explore resources on an individual level. We also access to Research4 Life programme from where we get a huge number of e-resources at free of cost. Some are available through open access. Currently, we are facing budget constraints in our Library which is usual comparing other libraries. At the same time, we are trying our best to accomplish this challenge using different mechanisms.
TLT: How is your library different than other libraries?
Dr Nazim: Our Library is different in terms of facilities, collections, services, environment and professional staff members who are devoted and dedicated. All basic components of the library are available, i.e. individual area or building, budget, all types of collections or resources including Web of Science database, facilities and services, professional researchers are users of this library, and finally, real library environment exists in icddr,b.
TLT: What sorts of technology are being used at your library and what types of services are you providing to users?
Dr Nazim: Our Library is automated using proprietary Liberty software; RFID technology; established Institutional Knowledge Repository using open source DSpace software; stopped print journals subscription from this year, i.e. from 2018 and now subscribing online only; organizing training on Information Literacy, Literature search, Discovery of e-resources, EndNote; two modules of library are parts of two regular training courses of icddr,b conducted by Technical Training Unit, where library people participate as resource persons; some of the database services are available on mobile also, i.ie. Updated; offered remote access facilities; member of UGC Digital Library (UDL) and subscribing e-resources; member of Bangladesh Research and Education Network (BdREN); member of Library Consortium of Bangladesh (LiCoB) supported by Bangladesh Academy of Sciences (BAS) from where we subscribe e-resources for icddr,b; and we always try to update with the current technology use and emerging issues of library management that take places at the global level.
TLT: International events like seminars, workshops are rarely organized in Bangladesh. According to you, what are the limitations for arranging those in our country?
Dr Nazim: There are so many challenges to organize and arrange international events like seminars, workshops in Bangladesh. First of all, lack of leadership and potential leaders in the library profession of Bangladesh is the main barrier to this. If you look at two professional bodies in the country Library Association of Bangladesh(LAB) and Bangladesh Association of Librarians, Information Scientists and Documentalists (BALID), both are not capable in organizing the international event because of leadership capabilities. Sometimes LAB organized seminar where only Indian library professionals attended and trying to give the essence of international seminar, which is not true. At the greater extent, we could say that seminar is regional but not international. Even if you consider the establishment of LAB and BALID which are more than 50 years old and 30 years old respectively. However, there are other challenges like the mindset of library professional, poor economy, lack of sponsorship and government support, infrastructure facilities, security issues, bank account issues, and moreover, library profession receives very little attention from the government, organizations, and also from the society. These are absolutely my personal views.
“lack of leadership and potential leaders in the library profession
of Bangladesh is the main barrier to organise the
LIS international conferences in Bangladesh.”
TLT: We have seen the frustrations among the library professionals. What do you think can cause such problems among the library professionals in Bangladesh?
Dr Nazim: No incentive, motivation, recognition and respect from the government part for the library professionals in Bangladesh although library profession is a part of education and national culture. We value artists, musicians, architect, and other professionals. But we don’t value library professional who organize knowledge and education in Bangladesh. Recognition and respect should be given from the government side and then it will be endorsed everywhere, i.e. society, community, and family level too.
Recently, I have seen a changed scenario in the library profession of Bangladesh that I have not seen earlier. How this change scenario has appeared before us? The two components of the library profession have changed this scenario, one is LiCoB and the other one is UDL. These two e-resources subscriptions and digital library services helped a lot in changing the scenario. Meeting, workshop, and seminars of LiCoB and UDL are headed and led by library professionals in Bangladesh. This is very brief about changing the scenario of the library profession in Bangladesh.
“The two components of the library profession have
changed this scenario, one is LiCoB and the other one is UDL.”
TLT: How do you think we can overcome those problems?
Dr Nazim: We have to prepare ourselves, not only as the good librarian or good professional, as good and potential leader of library profession in Bangladesh. We have to convince the government. But before that, we should work at grass root level for the members of family, community and society on an individual level and then create awareness programme on library profession what we are doing in the library and how we are helping our community and serving for the nation. Sometimes we need to work simultaneously for the society as well for the government. This is how we need to move forward to and then the government also might come forward to recognize us.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) could be considered a great tool to change the scenario of the library profession in Bangladesh. But we have to use and apply this technology to our profession duly to achieve the desired goal.
Finally, we (library professional) should give all-out effort to achieve this recognition.
TLT: We have ISLM department at four public universities. In addition to that, a good number of private universities are also offering LIS degrees and programs as well. Besides academic activities, what sorts of extra roles can they play for the development of our profession?
Dr Nazim: There is a great role to play by the Departments of ISLM of public and private universities in Bangladesh to develop and strengthen the library profession in Bangladesh. The intellectual community should work as follows
- To do more research in line with the development of the library profession in Bangladesh.
- To advocate for the opportunities of the job, professional development opportunities and other forms of career advancement in the library profession.
- To pursue the lawmakers of the parliament and to work with the policymakers of the government of Bangladesh in order to create job opportunities in the profession and uplift the profession in our country for the greater interest of the nation.
- To encourage and support the government in many forms to strengthen the profession.
- To create and cultivate an environment of assessment and value of the library in Bangladesh.
- To make some potential leaders of the library profession in Bangladesh.
- To make policy brief and provide the same to the government on a regular basis.
- To assist institutions at public and private level to plan, design, and establish the library and much more…
TLT: How professional associations like IFLA, LAB, and BALID can proactively work for the development of our professions?
Dr Nazim: IFLA assists for the development of library profession. But LAB and BALID can proactively participate and take part for the development of library profession in Bangladesh. But, are LAB and BALID working for the development of library profession in Bangladesh? Do you find any event or evidence?
This is my question to TLT too regarding professional development?
TLT: You know that besides regular weekly publications, TLT has conducted a good number of professional Webinar Series on different topics. We have arranged award events and fun nights. We have arranged financial supports for meritorious students as needed. What are some other events and activities that TLT can organize in future?
Dr Nazim: I appreciate different professional initiatives are taken by TLT and organized events by TLT, which are really great!
TLT: Please mention any drawbacks of TLT? How can TLT overcome it?
Dr Nazim: Every initiative has its own limitations. Where is no challenge, there is no success. However, I will give my suggestion, when we meet face to face, regarding how to overcome these challenges by TLT.
TLT: Thank you for giving us your valuable time to TLT. Your thoughts and insights will be helpful toward a rethinking of the action of professional communities. We look forward to working together in relation to the development of the profession in the near future.
Dr Nazim: Thanks to TLT too.