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Libraries for the future

  • Published at 06:48 pm June 13th, 2016
  • Last updated at 06:51 pm June 13th, 2016
Libraries for the future

Jahangir is a local entrepreneur who established an Agriculture Information Centre in the Kaliganj village of Naogaon, so that local farmers can get all kinds of information related to farming, education, health, and other necessary issues related to their daily lives.

Now, the farmers produce more crops as a result of access to the library and being able to gather knowledge regarding agriculture whenever they need.

The small library has inspired local farmers to use and exchange information to improve their livelihoods.

Libraries of the 21st century can help fight poverty and narrow the wealth gap that exists. Libraries are taking a central role in ensuring utilisation of information for the poor to improve their livelihoods.

Information is considered to be an important component for economic and social development. Bangladesh has had libraries since the beginning of 19th century.

In order to provide information quickly, libraries are playing an important role in the different areas of Bangladesh.

Information society has passed through four different transformation stages, with the most crucial stage being at the end of the 20th century.

This stage has made a never-ending revolution, particularly with the introduction of information and communication technologies.

If we look back, it is convenient to view the history of library automation in four distinct phases: The first during 1880, the second during 1954-70, the third during 1970-90, and the current phase starting from 1990.

A digital library is a set of electronic resources and combined capabilities for searching, creating, and retrieving information.

In this sense, there are extensions of information storage and retrieval systems that do one’s part in storing and retrieving digital data like text, images, sounds, dynamic images, etc existing in distributed networks.

Bangladesh has great potential to develop its rural people with the development of libraries.

We now have a population of 162 million, where 58.8% of the population is under the age of 25 and 32.8% is under 10. Some 80% of the population live in rural areas, where access to information is very low.

The concept of libraries and information centres is somewhat difficult to understand for the people of rural areas.

Many of them confuse libraries for commercial bookstores. Among rural people, the most common way of transferring information is by word of mouth.

There is an urgent need for greater access to reliable information and good support for all rural people.

Digital libraries for rural people can create a knowledge management solution at the village level. This can be used to create, share, and disseminate information that is relevant and high in demand, as an end-to-end knowledge management solution

Health, family planning, sanitation, housing, and income support need to be improved. Political and social awareness and participation in educational and cultural activities should increase.

Digital libraries for rural people can create a knowledge management solution at the village level.

This can be used to create, share, and disseminate information that is relevant and high in demand, as an end-to-end knowledge management solution.

According to the national book centre of Bangladesh, the country has 4,000 libraries in rural areas. But the number is insufficient considering the fact that there are 70,000 villages.

At present, rural and urban areas have 68 government-run public libraries. 1,000 non-government public libraries, which are in need of development, around 250 in urban areas and 750 in rural areas.

Librarians may add some more services to empower the general rural dwellers and especially the rural women.

Seminars, workshops and discussion programs need to be organised, engaging rural people to increase their knowledge capacity.

Sessions can be arranged by libraries, where men and women listen to magazine and newspaper readings.

Adult education can be arranged to improve their socio-cultural outlooks, and audio-visual services can be arranged where rural people would have the opportunity to listen to educational cassettes translated to their local languages.

If libraries are to be effective, they need to be funded. But many libraries in our country are under-funded.

If we take a look at the developed countries, they give much importance on their libraries.

It is difficult to use new information technologies and communication systems if local infrastructures are not up to par, the telephone system is interrupted by unreliable power supplies, etc.

Moreover, equipment, maintenance costs, access to materials (e-books, disks, papers, ribbons, etc.), and financial backup to ensure smooth operation of the library are also big challenges in the rural areas.

Human resource development is a serious issue, with the inadequacy of staff, both in quantity and quality, as well as inappropriate use of resources.

Digital libraries can meet the needs of users through several services of complex collections and structuring of technologies in managing data and descriptions of data.

It is not involved with only computer and information sciences, but also humanities and other fields of knowledge.

Digitalisation is a long-term process. Socio-political stability is required for the success of digitalisation programs.

To reach the destination, all parties, including library authorities, library educators, political parties, and end users must realise its importance and work together with proper care.

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