In coordination with the Department of Public Libraries, the British Council’s Libraries Unlimited (LU) programme and Cultural Centre has celebrated National Library Day 2019 on 5 February 2019, with the slogan of “Let’s read books in Libraries and develop enlightened minds”. As a part of this event, staff members of the British Council attended a rally organised by the Department of Public Libraries. 

The day began with the formal inauguration of National Library Day events at the British Council that was attended by Mr Ashish Kumar Sarker, Director General, Department of Public Libraries as the Chief Guest. Catherine Ward, Global People Director of the British Council, Andrew Newton, Deputy Director of British Council and Kirsty Crawford, Programme Director Libraries Unlimited were also present. After the inauguration ceremony, the guests inaugurated the Digital Wall, which is a new feature for the digital library. The Digital Wall features QR codes which can be scanned to download books for free. 

As a part of the celebrations, the British Council invited 70 school children as participants for a coding workshop, where they learnt computer coding through Kano Computers. This workshop was telecasted on a live Facebook session to engage viewers as the presenter demonstrated enjoyable coding could be. 

Soon after, LU, in partnership with Soho Impact hosted an interactive storytelling session where the children had to build the house described in the story with toy bricks.

National Library Day also made news in the media. Leading English newspaper The Independent published an interview with Kirsty Crawford, Programme Director, Libraries Unlimited, where she spoke about how the libraries can become ideal community spaces. The article can be read online here.

On the same day Mr Ashish Kumar Sarker, Director General, Department of Public Libraries appeared for an interview with leading Bangla TV channel NTV on National Library Day 2019. He spoke about how the Libraries Unlimited Programme is working with the Government to support the development of the library sector in Bangladesh. 

All these interventions by the British Council were to raise awareness on libraries and enhance the number of library users.

The LU programme is a five-year intervention started in 2016, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and implemented by the British Council in Bangladesh. In partnership with the Department of Public Libraries and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, LU is working to improve access to information and knowledge for the mass public.