Thursday, 9 December, 2021
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Digitise public libraries for wider readership

Digitise public libraries for wider readership

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National Public Libraries are the richest source of rare and valuable books, journals, periodicals and newspapers for researchers and students for their academic and research purposes. Although the number of researchers and common readers, particularly senior citizens, have declined in the Sufia Kamal National Public Library at Shahbagh, the reason may be multifarious and not all of it negative. For instance, the advent of Google has made available at our fingertips a vast source of all the information that one may seek about anything in the world. Also, digitisation has changed how people access information, books, journals and even newspapers. Likewise, the traditional public libraries have changed tremendously due to modern digital technology in accordance with the needs of the time. Most public libraries also offer digital access of their materials to researchers and readers for convenience.

It is heartening to know from the Director General of the Department of Public Libraries that the Sufia Kamal National Public Library will have a new 10-storey building by demolishing the existing one to increase space, modernise services and add facilities sought by the researchers and readers of today. At present the library is not attracting as many researchers due to the presence of too many job seekers coming to study in preparation for recruitment tests.

Different types of library users’ needs must be catered for to attract all kinds of readers from children to senior citizens. While students and researchers look for focused materials for their study purposes, the common readers usually want books and journals of various types of interest. A public library must be equipped to cater to all kinds of people and attract more readers. The busy schedule of modern life hardly leaves much room for leisure reading for most working people. But it is vital to inculcate the habit of reading in children from a very early age. Public libraries are vital to grow the habit of reading for the future citizens of any nation.

We hope that the new Public Library will incorporate the latest books as well as rare collections in digitised form to offer wider access to readers all over the country. Special facilities for senior citizens and the physically challenged people will help in increasing the number of readers who can while away their time reading in a pleasurable atmosphere.