Access to information is a priority to Bangladesh Government. Education without culture is incomplete where library is the key to enlightenment,’’ said Asaduzzaman Noor MP, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
The British Council, in partnership with the Government of Bangladesh, is implementing a nationwide project titled Libraries Unlimited that is aimed 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 the creation of new innovative models of libraries. These libraries will provide free access to information, resources and the internet with a particular focus on reaching women, young people ‘not in education, regular employment or training’ (NEETs) and micro-entrepreneurs.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the British Council and Ministry of Cultural Affairs (MoCA) on 16 August 2016 in Dhaka. The ceremony started with a welcome speech from Akhtari Momtaz, Honourable Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs followed by a speech from Matt Pusey Deputy Director Bangladesh, Barbara Wickham Director Bangladesh and Asaduzzaman Noor MP, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
On behalf of the British Council, Barbara Wickham 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 1.8 million US Dollars. The project will be implemented in full partnership with the department of public libraries, focusing three core areas of action: policy and advocacy, an establishment of model libraries and professional development of libraries.
To build a collaborative network, this project has also included intellectuals. The idea of 'improving and enriching the life of Bangladeshi people' through digitisation of public library services and integration of different cross functional British Council activities with the public library was appreciated by all. The whole ceremony was covered by electronic and print media and telecasted all over Bangladesh on the same date.