Libraries are crucial for spreading human thoughts across the globe and also for handing over the accumulated knowledge from generation to generation. They are also birth places of new thoughts and ideas. Libraries are sort of human brains outside the human body and this distinguish humans from other animals.
A nation can hardly be called great unless it has some rich libraries that house knowledge invented and discovered from the past to the present by people of different race, religion, color and other identities. Bangladesh lags behind in having good libraries. We have many public libraries, true, but they are not rich enough to attract much thoughtful readers and many have turned into a gathering place nowadays for job preparation by young people. Thus public libraries are facing troubles in attracting serious regular readers.
Academic education in our country is structured upon a narrow view of memorizing selected items and pouring down those in exact forms on exam papers. This method of learning kills all creativity in the minds of children. Children's minds should be given the chance of expansion without fear of constraints. This cannot be done without exposing them to the river, if not ocean, of books that lie outside the narrow boundary of the textbooks.
Exposing children to the vast world of knowledge through books is more necessary nowadays when they are in danger of being victims of mobile phone addiction. Consuming matters unsuitable for their age on the Internet and spending long time on games are doing harms to their body and mind. So, Muhammad Yahiya Mukto-Pathagar, a CDIP initiative, has started setting up book shelves containing 40 to 60 books on the outside wall of the classroom in a local school and keeping it open during the day. Twenty-four such open libraries have been set up so far in 10 districts of the country.
Recently, this 17 June, it, jointly with Proyas Library, organized a conference of local libraries at Kashinathpur in Pabna. With representatives of around 20 libraries attending the conference, it started with a debate competition on the need of the library among school students in which two reached final out of six groups (schools), which started a half month ago. Mofidul Hossain Shahin, President of Proyas, chaired the debate session.
On this day in the Kashinathpur Union Parishad Hall Room, distinguished persons like Professor Shibjit Nag, Writer Akhtar Zaman, Poet Saikat Habib and Abdus Sattar Khan, a leader of the national library movement, were present in the discussion program. A certificate of honor was awarded to M L Nazrul Islam, a senior person who dedicated his life in running a library and inspiring local children and youths in this program. Union Parishad Chairman Mir Monzur Elahi handed over the certificate of honor to him after Poet Alaul Hossain read out it. Mr. M L Nazrul Islam was given a standing ovation by the audience in recognition of his contribution to society. Later Mr. Islam expressed his feelings in passionate words.
Among others, Golam Rasul, a senior teacher, Humayun Kabir, a theater activist, and Omar Sarkar, talked in the program. Associate Professor Mahbub Hossain and Mahbub Ul Alam, a cultural activist, moderated various sessions of the program.
This is the first time such a program of library conference has been organized here. Library activist Rezaul Karim Sheikh said a program like this was very necessary. Writer Alok Acharja said this program would contribute to developing friendly relations between library activists in the district. Zeman Asad, who runs Chitrogriho Chatmohor, an art school cum library, said that awarding the certificate of honor to the aged library activist was quite an important event. Zahid Subhan hoped to have such programs in the future, too.
The daylong program ended with Reazul Haque, Punima and others rendering music and reciting poems. This library conference has opened a new chapter of cooperation and strong communication among book-lovers and library activists in the history of Kashinathpur, Pabna.
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