As the government observed the first National Library Day across the country on Monday, publishers participating in the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair demanded increased budgetary allocations for the development of libraries.
The Cabinet Division in last October approved observing February 5 as National Library Day to highlight the importance of people’s reading habits as well as development of libraries in the country.
Academic and Creative Publishers Association of Bangladesh executive director and publisher at Panjeree Publications Kamrul Hasan Shayok told New Age that cultural affairs ministry’s annual budgetary allocation of Tk 1 crore for purchasing books for government libraries was not enough.
‘The observance of the national day, to encourage people’s library culture, should be made meaningful by developing infrastructures of local libraries, especially in educational institutions,’ he said.
National Curriculum and Textbook Board member Professor Ratan Siddique told New Age that the government had issued a circular for degree colleges to allocate 30 per cent of students’ admission fees for purchasing books for the institutions’ libraries.
Each year a number of educational institutions and local library organisers purchase a handsome amount of books from the country’s biggest book fair.
Oitijjhya sales manager Amjad Hossain Khan thought that this year would not be an exception.
University Press Limited sales executive Kamruzzaman said that the UPL was a good source of historical books for libraries.
Bishwo Shahitto Kendro published translations of classic works like Rupantor by Lucius Apuleius, Canterbury Uppakkhan by Geoffrey Chaucer and Ekjon American Kritodasher Jibon Brittanto by Frederick Douglass would enrich a library, said a BSK stall attendant.
Journeyman Book stall attendants said that they had historical books for researchers and students interested in studying the Liberation War of 1971.
On the fifth day of the fair, national cricket team’s test and T20 skipper Sakib Al Hasan enthralled the visitors of all ages as he emerged as an author with his first title Halum — a graphic autobiography published by Pearl Publications.
Salauddin Ahmed, Soniya Akter, Dilara Akter and Mahiya, all Islamic Studies department students of Dhaka University, were overwhelmed after collecting the title with the autograph of the world’s top all-rounder.
On the day, information minister Hasanul Huq Inu unveiled the cover of Zia Poribarer Durniti: Kichu Khondo Chitro, edited by Omar Faruque and published by Jubo Jagaran.
According to the fair information centre, 116 new titles hit the bookstalls with 32 collections of poems leading the tally.
Today, Bangla Academy will hold a discussion commemorating Bengali educationist and philanthropist Ashwini Kumar Dutta.
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