Discussants at a session in the Dhaka Lit Fest 2017 stressed the need for government intervention in setting up local libraries to promote the habit of reading.
Dipankar Das, Rajib Che and Syed Zakir Hossain made the remark at the session titled “Prokashona – Ekal, Shekal” at Bangla Academy’s Vaskar Novera Exhibition Hall on Friday, the second day of the festival.
They also urged the government to integrate book reading into academic curricula with “relevant policies” so students could have access to different kinds of books, in addition to textbooks.
“There is no alternative to increasing the number of libraries in the country. The government [regulated] libraries have reduced significantly.
“Students these days don't develop a reading habit because they don’t have the habit of using school libraries,” said Syed Zakir Hossain, publisher and CEO of Adorn Publication.
If the number of libraries was increased and book reading was integrated into the academic curricula, it would not only develop people’s reading habit but also encourage writers and publishers to write and print quality books, he added.
Hossain also emphasized the need of setting up a strong marketing network for books. “At least 70% of the books that are available at Amar Ekushey Book Fair are not available afterwards. This is not fair,” he added.
Dipankar Das, owner of Batighar, said: "We need to broaden the readers’ base in the country and the government should have something in its policies to integrate more books in libraries besides textbooks, and encourage reading habit among students."
Publisher Rajib Che said the publication industry faces many problems when promoting books. “The government should provide some incentive for new, bright writers and publishers to help the industry flourish further,” he added.
The talk was moderated by Firoz Ahmed.