The British Council, in full partnership with the Government of Bangladesh, is implementing a nationwide project titled Libraries Unlimited, with an aim to develop the Library sector in Bangladesh. The project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Libraries Unlimited aims to greatly improve the lives of the citizens of Bangladesh through creating new and innovative models of libraries that will provide free access to information, resources and internet with a particular focus on reaching women, young people ‘not in education, regular employment or training’ (NEETs) (aged 15-24) and micro-entrepreneurs.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the British Council and Ministry of Cultural Affairs (MoCA) on Tuesday 16 August at 3.00pm in the Conference Room, Ministry of Cultural Affairs. On behalf of British Council, Barbara Wickham, Director Bangladesh and Ashish Kumar Sarkar, Director General (Additional Secretary), Department of Public Libraries, Ministry of Cultural Affairs signed the MoU to implement a five-year project (including a pilot phase of 18 months). The project will be implemented in full partnership with Department of Public Libraries focusing three core areas of action: policy and advocacy, the establishment of model libraries, and professional development of librarians.
The Libraries Unlimited project has been designed based on the findings of a nationwide research called Library Landscape Assessment of Bangladesh (LLAB). This new joint initiative will support the development of public libraries in Bangladesh by modernising the library network, raising awareness and capacity of government officers, training library staff and building public awareness of and access to library and information services. This will give people in Bangladesh huge opportunities in terms of their own lives, livelihoods and futures and so helping them achieve their full potential by providing access to a range of services.