Saturday, 27 November, 2021
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Readers hardly visit Mohanagar Library

Readers hardly visit Mohanagar Library

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Readers and visitors hardly visit Mohanagar Library in the capital due to continuous cacophony from vehicles plying the busy Paltan-Gulistan road and some other problems inside the library.

The public library in Gulistan is struggling to attract readers though it has 19,000 books along with national and international journals, newspapers, and magazines.

The library is located in the same building which houses the National Book Centre of the country.

Talking to this correspondent, readers alleged that the library is unable to provide basic amenities like supply of safe drinking water and toilet facilities.  

With the current infrastructure of the library, it is possible to ensure basic facilities and attract the readers. But the authorities concerned have said that they have no plan of bringing any major changes in the existing facilities for readers until the library is shifted to another place, some readers alleged.

Director of Jatiya Grantha Kendra Minar Monsur said, “We have no plan to reconstruct the building as the government has decided to shift the library to Shahbagh where the Sufia Kamal National Public Library is located. The national public library building will be demolished and a 10-storey building will be constructed. The top floor of that building will house this library.”

He also said that they will take necessary measures to ensure safe drinking water for readers.

Asked about the toilet facility of the library, he said, “It always remains locked as the condition of the toilets is not suitable for use now. The readers can use the toilets on the third floor.”

During a recent visit to the library on Wednesday, a handful of readers were found at the library.      Only three readers were seen in the newspaper room while around 12 people were found in the reading room and reference section.

Talking to the Daily Sun, Md Jewel, who was taking job preparations there, said that the readers were disheartened to visit the library for severe sound pollution.

“We have come here because we have no better place to go. Those who come here are the same people like me because nobody can be attentive to the serious study in the library,” said Juwel who is a former student of Dhaka College under the academic session of 2011-12.

The librarian of the Mohanagar Library Md Farid Uddin Sarkar said that there are around 19,000 books on diversified subjects. 17 Bangla and English newspapers, and three popular international journals are in the library.

“We have the latest issue of the Times, the Economists and the Reader’s Digest for our readers in our collection along books and newspapers. But there is none to read," Farid also said.

He also informed that the readers are not getting water because the supply line of water in the building got damaged.

Rahat Zaman, a job seeker, said, “We have to stay there for a long time for taking job preparation and need drinking water. But we don’t get it because the water supply line here is damaged long ago."

Asked why readers don’t come to the library, he opined, “Readers have deserted the library for the lack of proper facilities. The toilets blocks of the library floor (fifth floor) remain always under lock and key. We have to use the toilets meant for the female section on the fifth floor.” 

They also alleged that the library is opened half an hour late and closed half an hour earlier than the designated time.

He also said that the water supply line of the library building got damaged being old and remained so far last three weeks.

General Secretary of Bangladesh Institute of Planners and Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Jahangirnagar University Adil Mohammed Khan said that shifting the library to Shahbag was not the solution to the existing problem rather they should focus on development of reading environment. 

“Shifting the library to Shahbag is not a good idea to solve the problem of reader. It will deprive the people of Gulistan and its surrounding areas.  They should focus on reducing sound pollution caused by the motorized vehicles,” he opined.

“Lack of information about the library and its facilities is one of the reasons for why it is not popular. The authorities should digitalize the library services so that the young generation knows about the library,” he also said.

Mahabub Mia, a security official of the library who has been in duty for the last 32 years said that once it was vibrant with readers.

“When the library was inside the Osmani Udyan in the 90s, we have to struggle to deal with the readers. There would have a huge gathering of books lovers. But now, the young generation is engaged with Facebook,” said Mahabub recollecting the old memories.

Now the turnout of readers in the library is very low, he also said.