Library Landscape Assessment of Bangladesh Symposium
Date
Tuesday 12 May 2015 - 00:00 to Wednesday 13 May 2015 - 00:00
Location
Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Dhaka

The British Council Bangladesh held a high-level symposium titled “A New Vision for Libraries in Bangladesh: Transforming Access to Digital Information” on 12-13 May 2015 at Dhaka . The basis for this two days symposium was to share the findings of a major piece of nationwide research with the key stakeholders initiated by the British Council on Library and Information Services (LIS) called A Library Landscape Assessment of Bangladesh. We conducted this study to explore both the information needs of the people of Bangladesh and the current LIS provision within the country, with an aim to identify the opportunities and challenges that exist within the sector and to recommend ways to improve the situation across the country. The symposium was supported by the Government of BangladeshBRAC and the Bengal Foundation. The findings of this nationwide study were the starting point for the symposium’s presentations and discussions. Asaduzzaman Noor MP, Honourable Minister of Cultural Affairs, inaugurated the symposium as the Chief Guest. In his inauguration speech the minister said, “When I think about libraries, I think about more than just a shelf with books on it. I see libraries as a ‘safe space’ for education, culture, entertainment, and access to information. Libraries, essentially, are much more than just books”. Emphasising on the modern day technology, he added- “It’s time for our library services to adapt to the new reality of the 21st Century. In this age of the smartphone, tablet, and Wi-Fi, we must provide our citizens with digital access to resources. Physical books will continue to be a vital resource, but they are only the tip of the information iceberg”. 

A Library Landscape Assessment of Bangladesh

A Library Landscape Assessment of Bangladesh is a series of interconnected pieces of research that was commissioned by the British Council in late 2014. It aims to assess the current provision of Library and Information Services (LIS) in urban, semi-urban and rural areas, and will determine what can be done to radically improve the situation. This research and analysis is helping to create a comprehensive understanding of current LIS provision in Bangladesh, mapped against needs, and identifies opportunities and challenges for implementing major changes.

The findings and conclusions of the Library Landscape Assessment will act as the starting point for discussions in this symposium.  The discussions planned for the symposium will make a major contribution to aligning and mobilising key stakeholders in LIS provision in Bangladesh, who in turn will be instrumental in supporting, prioritising and executing sustainable interventions that improve access to information across Bangladesh.

Participation

The symposium will bring together around 75 high-level participants representing ministries and other governmental organisations, international development organisations, professional library organisations, cultural organisations, universities, the private sector, and civil society organisations. 

Given the timeliness of this issue and this topic’s centrality to the Government of Bangladesh’s ambition of a “Digital Bangladesh” by 2021, the symposium will attract participants keen to actively share their views and opinions with a broad range of stakeholders engaged in the LIS sector.

Documentation for the meeting

The interim report is available here to view and download. Participants will be provided with an Executive Summary and visual brief of the Library Landscape Assessment of Bangladesh. An aide-memoire will be prepared to provide context and a brief background to the discussion sessions. A list of key background references will also be provided.

Aims

The symposium aims to:

  • Examine and discuss the interim findings of the Library Landscape Assessment of Bangladesh
  • Improve and strengthen the Final Recommendations of the research, based on the expert feedback and opinions of stakeholders from the LIS sector
  • Start the process of aligning and mobilising the sector towards addressing the issues the research has identified

Expected outcomes

The following outcomes are expected at the end of the event:

  1. Stakeholders share a common understanding of the LIS landscape in Bangladesh
  2. Stakeholders share a common vision of opportunities for major LIS improvements in Bangladesh, and the obstacles that must be overcome to seize those opportunities
  3. Stakeholders gain and contribute to an understanding of their roles in actualising this vision and are mobilised to collaborate together

Agenda overview

DAY 1 – The current status of LIS

Time

Session

9:30 – 10:00

Registration and networking

10:00 – 10:45 

Opening ceremony                                             

10:45 – 11.15

Break

11:15 – 12:00

A Library Landscape Assessment of Bangladesh – research methodology and findings

12:00 – 12:15

A Library Landscape Assessment of Bangladesh – conclusions: priority areas for action

12:15 – 13:00

Q&A – Responses to the research findings

13:00 – 14:00

Lunch

14:00 – 15:15

Breakout sessions

  1. Libraries for all
  2. Modern, ICT-integrated infrastructure
  3. Librarians at the core

15:15 – 15:30

Break

15:30 – 16:45

Breakout sessions

  1. Gender sensitive
  2. Demand driven
  3. Public investment 

16:45 – 17:00

Summary of the day and closing remarks

DAY 2 – A new vision

Time

Session

9:00 – 9:30

Registration and networking

9:30 – 9:45

Welcome/recap of Day 1

9:45 – 10:15 

Presentation: International comparators and achievements

10:15 – 10:55

Presentation: LIS case studies in Bangladesh

10:55 – 11:15

Break

11:15 – 13:00

Closing Session – recommendations for the future of public libraries in Bangladesh 

13:00 – 14:00

Lunch