The library that never was | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 22, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:28 AM, November 22, 2020

The library that never was

Meant to be used for a public library, the building in Notun Bazar area of Tahirpur upazila town in Sunamganj is being used for everything else but a library since its construction was completed 33 years ago.

The public library was established to encourage reading habits among residents of the town that is surrounded by wetlands and known as a backward locality for its underdeveloped communications system, said Sajen Mia, a resident of the area.

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But unfortunately, the public library did not see the light of day for even one single day since its building was completed, he said frustratingly.

Another local, journalist Jahangir Alam Bhuiyan said he has always been seeing the single-storey building of the library being used as a government officers' club or an auditorium for government meetings or seminars.

During his visits inside the building on various occasions, he had seen a few books, which disappeared later.

He also said he has seen different sports equipment including a table tennis setup and rackets and other accessories for badminton stored in the building, on which a second storey was built recently, he added.

According to Tahirpur upazila administration, the construction of the single-storey building for the library was completed in 1987. But it could not start its operations due to shortage of funds and a lack of necessary initiative.

In order to find a way to commence its services to locals, a seven-member steering committee was formed in 1993, with the then upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) made its president. But the committee could not proceed much further without necessary funding.

The building of the library is currently being used by the upazila administration, the upazila parishad and the union parishads for holding their meetings and seminars, said an official at the administration.

While speaking with this correspondent, Tahirpur UNO Padmasan Singha said they were setting up a 'Bangabandhu Corner' and a multipurpose conference room on the newly built first floor of the library building.

Once the Bangabandhu Corner and the conference room are inaugurated, he would take necessary steps to start a public library on the ground floor, he added. 

Young writer Taifun Mia, a resident of the town, said, "When it comes to gaining knowledge, there is no alternative to reading books. And the best way the objective can be achieved is by setting up public libraries. But sadly, our public library is now a 'community centre'."

The habit of reading books can help shun addiction to drugs or mobile phones. Hence, libraries are needed in every locality, said booklover Saurabh Biswas.

In conversation with this correspondent, Modashir Alam Sabul, head teacher of Janata High School, said a library is a must for a knowledge-based society.

When the building of the library was being constructed, people of the haors (wetlands) were excited in the hope of being enlightened, but their hopes had been snubbed all these years, he lamented.

Contacted, Sunamganj Additional Deputy Commissioner (Education and ICT) Jasim Uddin said he would speak with Tahirpur UNO so they can take necessary steps for opening the library in the upazila.

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