Central Public Library

Overview of Central Public Library

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Central Public Library of Bangladesh (now Begum Sufia Kamal National Public Library) is the largest public library in Bangladesh. It also houses the Public Library Department which, with 68 public libraries including the Central Public Library in its jurisdiction, is managed by the Directorate of Public Libraries under the Ministry of Cultural Affairs The auditorium of the library is a major venue for cultural events in Dhaka, including the International Short and Independent Film Festival. It also houses the Library Training Institute funded and managed by the Library Association of Bangladesh (LAB). It also has a reprography service, in-house bindery and conservation section.

The foundation stone for Dhaka Central Public Library was laid in 1954 with the Registrar of Dhaka University as part-time Librarian[1]. Designated to be the center for the public library system in the then East Pakistan on the basis of the recommendations made by Australian Library consultant Mr. L C Key in 1955[2], it was opened to the public on March 22, 1958 with a stock of 10,040 books. In 1978 the library moved to its building near the Shahbag Intersection from its original building designed by pioneering Bangladeshi architect Mazharul Islam, which went on to house the Dhaka University Central Library.[3] The Department of the Public Libraries was established with Bangladesh Central Public Library as its headquarter in 1984. Between 1980-85 UNESCO provided nearly 9.9 million in Bangladeshi currency to develop the library.

As of March 2007, the Library has 1,19,750 books in collection, including old and rare books of historical value, and hold a small collection of 40 to 50 manuscripts titles for research and reference. Besides books in Bengali and English there are books in other languages like Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and Persian. is a deposit library for all Bangladesh publications under the Copyright Act. The Library receives all Dhaka newspaper dailies and periodicals. It also has a special collection of juvenile material and provides separate reading facilities for children. The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system with minor modifications is followed in organizing library materials.

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