Present Status of Government Libraries in Bangladesh: Issue & Challenges

Bangladesh is a developing country and its society is in transition from agriculture to an industry, manufacturing and service based economy. Bangladesh intends to avail the opportunities offered by globalization and ICT to build a knowledge society. As a learning organization, libraries should provide a strong leadership in knowledge management. Libraries should improve their knowledge management in all of the key areas of library services. To cope with the exponential growth in human knowledge, libraries need to develop their resources, access and sharing strategies from printed to electronic and digital resources. Limited by funding, technology, staff and space, libraries must carefully analyze the needs of their users and seek to develop cooperative acquisition plans to meet the needs of users. Libraries should be developed and maintained an integrated online public access catalogue (OPAC) with both internal and external resources as well as printed and other formats of knowledge. In the rest of the article we are going to know about Present Status of Government Libraries in Bangladesh: Issue & Challenges.

Useful websites and knowledge sources should be regularly searched and selected from the internet and included in OPACs. The library movement in Bangladesh started during the middle of the 18th century. The mass library movement in Bangladesh started with the establishment of four public libraries i.e. Woodburn Public Library, Bogra, Jessore Public Library, Barisal Public Library and Rangpur Public Library in 1854. Subsequently public libraries were established in other district towns and municipal areas of Bangladesh. These libraries were run and maintained by private initiatives and without any assistance from government agencies. At present there are four types of libraries in Bangladesh. These are Public libraries, Academic libraries, National libraries, Special libraries.

Present Status of Government Libraries in Bangladesh: Issue & Challenges

Government Public Libraries in Bangladesh:

Government public libraries that are established operated and maintained by the government. Government initiative in establishing public was found in the fifties when the foundation of the Central public Library was laid in 1954 in the Dhaka University Campus. The Library opened its door to the public in 22 March, 1958. After liberation of the country an organization named Bangladesh Parishad was formed under the Ministry of Information with amalgamating the information centers. In 1983 a public library network system from the capital to the district level of the country was formed under a government department named Department of public Libraries under direct administrative control of the Ministry cultural affairs of the government of the  people’s  Republic of Bangladesh.

Present  condition of   government public Libraries in Bangladesh:

At present the Department of Public Libraries is comprised of 71 government   public libraries in Bangladesh. Among them 64 are housed in their own building and 06 of them are housed in hired buildings. Total accumulated collection of  Books all the libraries is 22,39,105 volumes of Books, 29 daily paper, 28 magazines of these library collections. Total working staff of  this  libraries are 96 officer and 359 employees.

Services of Government Public Libraries:

  • To provide reading facilities for all classes of the reader.
  • To provide research and reference service to scholars and to government Department.
  • To create  opportunity for lifelong informal education for the people of all stages of the country through public libraries.
  • To provide complementary support to the eradication of literacy and non-formal education program.
  • To function as a cultural center with a carefully designed program of extension lectures, exhibitions etc so as to create and foster intellectual interests and reading habits among general people.

Academic Libraries in Bangladesh:

Academic  library is called the heart of an educational Institution . Academic libraries generally represent the self   learning section of a formal academy or learning institutions where students, teacher  go for education and receive formal degree upon the completion of education under the national  education system. Academic Libraries are those libraries which are attached to any academic institution. The academic library is meant to  support the academic programme of a particular type of educational institutional .These includes school, Madrasah, College and University library.

School Library:

Education in Bangladesh has   three major stages- primary, secondary and higher educations. There are different categories of schools in Bangladesh, i.e. (a) Primary schools  (b) Junior secondary schools and (c) Secondary Schools. Libraries in primary education level that is not still remarkable in Bangladesh. In secondary school there is existence of a library in every school with a staff to look after   its  functions . There are 368 government secondary  school  in  Bangladesh.  In Bangladesh there is no library in primary level but Secondary level there is a library.

Colleges Library:

The colleges in Bangladesh are administered and managed both by the government and private bodies. Majority of the colleges are managed privately. Though all the colleges are equipped with a library  which may be big or small depending on the size and reputation. There are 328 government  college ( 19 School & college, 26 higher secondary colleges, 68 Degree (pass) colleges, 108  Degree( Honors)  colleges, 107  Masters colleges ) in Bangladesh.  Every colleges has a library.

Madrasah Library:

In Bangladesh we have another system of education besides the general system known as Madrasah  education which imparts religious instruction to the Muslim students. According to the statistical repot of BANBEIS  2018  there are 6553 Dakhil, 1429 Alim, 1087 Fazil and 231 Kamil (3 Government) Madrasah in the country. Total Madrasah 9303.  Each Madrasah has a library.

University Library:

The history of university education in Bangladesh started from 1921 with the establishment of Dhaka University. With the development of number of universities the number of libraries increased. At present there are 40 public  (government)  university Bangladesh. Public university in Bangladesh has got highest level of standard of service regarding its resources and modern facilities. The university libraries of today play a very important role in the making the university programmes successful and meaningful.

National   Library  in  Bangladesh:

The  national library of  Bangladesh (NLB) is a national depository  library of the country. It plays a vital role in the field of scholastic acquiring and evaluating stick of intellectual culture. Its   main purpose to collect , preserve and disseminate all types of national collections for future  generation.

Present condition of   National   Libraries in Bangladesh:

At present national library has total number of 5,50.000 volumes of books and some rare an special materials (Bengali Dailies title 103, Bengali Periodical title 150, English  dailies title 31, English Periodical title 8, Map 59 nos, Micro fiche 1500, Total collection under copy right Law (Both Bengali and English 63570). Total manpower of the national libraries are 14 officer and 44 staff.

Services of National   Libraries:

  • Reading & Research Service
  • Reference Service.
  • Bibliographical Service.
  • Reprography  Service
  • ISBN Service
  • Internet Searching and E-mail Browsing Service
  • National Bibliography Service
  • Micro film & Map Service
  • Exhibition  Gallery Service
  • Utility  ( Auditorium)Service

Government Departmental (Special) Libraries in  Bangladesh:

Government special libraries are attached to the Ministry, directory, departments, and autonomous bodies. They are established, organized and administrative by their parent organizations to meet specific information requirements. Government special libraries developments depends on its internal budget only, however have to need support from donor agencies and extending the internal budget of its proper development. There are around 1100 special libraries in Bangladesh and most of them are attached to the universities, government, departments, autonomous bodies, learned societies, non-government organizations and research institutes.

The status of the government attached departmental libraries which attached with the 18 ministry, it have a separate entity in the government organs Government Departmental libraries development depends on its internal budget only. Now draw the current status of the government offices existing department libraries in Bangladesh as follow:

Prime Minister office Library:

Prime Minister Office Library of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh has a well furnish library with collection of 34000 books. All the national daily news paper, many online journals are available of their library website, online library services are provided by the skill library professionals.

Ministry of law justice & P/A:

The ministry of law and justice and parliamentary Affairs, divided two division, justice Division another is Legislative and parliamentary Division under the division have a library which controlled by justice Division. Under the justice division have 68 session and district judge court and 68 chief metropolitan courts in Bangladesh, have a library with the every court. Today above 26000 books, 6 daily news paper, 3000 bound books e.g. Gazettes, Annual collection and many grossed documents have preserved in the library .Recently installed open source soft ware  KOHA installed.

Ministry of Public Administration:

Ministry  of  Public Administration library established in 1948.  The library housed in secretariat building dates back it was along with record room, now it has a separate entity It has collection 54000 with 6 daily news paper.  Under   the ministry have 68 District Commissioner office, attached with the office have a library.

Ministry of Education:

From the very beginning of the Ministry of Education functioning a library and have 20000 books and 4 news papers. To implement a open source software KOHA installed in this library.

Ministry of Labor and Employment:

Ministry of labor and employment has a library. Basically they engaged in manpower   export and skill development of human resources. It has 25000 books and 6 daily news papers. The library partially maintained by open source soft ware KOHA.

Ministry of Finance:

Under the Ministry of Finance have many division among one of is external resource Division (ERD) has documentation center, has 18000 books and treaties 2317 collection and have  journal Official grossed documents.

Ministry of Agriculture:

Ministry of Agriculture has library, basically they engaged in country wide agricultural development and skill development of human resources, now a days have 10000 books and 5 daily newspaper. The library partially maintained by open source software with KOHA

Ministry of Health and Family Planning:

From the very beginning of the Ministry of health and  Family Functioning a library and have 15000 books 3 news papers some health related journals.

Ministry of Land:

Under the Ministry of Land have couple of Board and Division, Land appeal board among have one of them, have 10000 books and 22000 file collection, and have journal, official grossed documents. Rest of the 12 libraries are working their ministry closely they handsome collection.

In this context we may discuss some prominent and well organized along with modern technology based special libraries are given below:

  1. Bangladesh Institute of  Development Studies  (BIDS),
  2. Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC),
  3. Bangladesh National  Scientific & Technical Documentation Center ( BANSDOC),
  4. Bangladesh Academy of Rural Development (BARD),
  5. Bangladesh Institute of International Strategic Studies (BIISS),
  6. Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR),
  7. Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) ,
  8. Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI) ,
  9. Bangladesh Forest Research Institute ( BFRI),
  10. Bangladesh Tea Research Institute (BTRI),
  11. Soil  Research Institute (SRI),
  12. Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation ( BADC),
  13. Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute ( BARI),  and
  14. Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear of agriculture (BINA), Fisheries Research Institute (FRI), Agricultural Information Center (AIC), ,Bangladesh Sugarcane Research Institute (BSRI), Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute ( BLRI) etc,

Services of (Special) Libraries:

  • Issue of document.
  • SDI,CAS,AVM Service
  • Indexing and abstracting service.
  • Reference service.
  • Internet service


There are different types of challenges in general which are facing by the library  authority  are as follows :

i. Insufficient Collection: There are actual shortage of books, periodicals, Journal, Article in the libraries especially and essential books as per necessity of the user is very important. As a result it becomes embarrassing for the library professional to meet the demand of the user of the libraries.

ii. Lack of professional manpower: Due to insufficient manpower in more or less all the libraries, The employee of the libraries have to face big problem in fulfilling the services as per requirements of the users.

iii. Absence of Modern facilities in libraries: At present the users of the libraries are ready to have IT based services from the libraries. But there is absence or insufficiently IT facilities in the libraries. It creates uneasy situation for the library employee.

iv. Lack of awareness of the users: Most of the libraries remain under utilized. It becomes a actual challenges for the library professional to motive the potential users to use the library.

v. Lack of security arrangement system: There is no modern or automated security arrangement for safety of books and other materials of these libraries. It creates a big problem for the library personnel, as they have to be liable for any lose of library materials from the libraries.

Present Status of Government Libraries in Bangladesh: Issue & Challenges


To improve the provision of useful government library services and accesses to information for the entire people of Bangladesh and the following  recommended for taking  necessary  actions.

  • Collections of   library recourses in  library  should be developed  and arranging resource sharing of this materials be made among the government  libraries by establishing library networks.
  • Necessary manpower for maintaining libraries be provided both of them. Immediately Vacant post should be fill up with professional qualified person.
  • Arrangement be taken for extensive training of existing library professional on ICT at home and abroad.
  • The library authority and professional Association should take positive steps in the form of arranging seminars, talk show, extension activities of libraries by improving the services for attracting the potential users to use library facilities.

Finally it can be said that the overall educational system of Bangladesh day by day  is improved . The literacy rate of  Bangladesh  is 61.5% ( BSB, 2015). Education is the basic need for socio- economic transformation and advancement of a country. It is one of the most important forms of human capital investment. The main objective of education is to acquire knowledge and eradicate depends on the educational facilities, which a country provides for its citizens. Better education facilities are likely to produce better educated citizen.   On behalf of this reason have to require library based educational system. To start expected services in the library then the use of library will increase. And if the use of library increased the education system will be developed which will enrich the country a civilized the nation of the Global world.