Opening access to information and knowledge for all in Bangladesh

The Libraries Unlimited (LU) programme seeks to improve public access to information and knowledge in Bangladesh and has been designed based on the findings of the Library Landscape Assessment of Bangladesh study, published in June 2015. Developed in close partnership with the Government of Bangladesh, LU aims to modernise the public library network, build the capacity of government officers, train library staff, and build public awareness of and access to library and information services. The British Council is implementing this project in Bangladesh in partnership with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and is supported by the Department of Public Libraries. LU will give millions of more people in Bangladesh, including groups such as women, young people out of education and employment, and micro-entrepreneurs, more control over their own lives thus supporting them to achieve their potential through access to a range of user-driven services. There will be six broad strands to the programme.

Provide policy and advocacy with local, regional and national government

We will develop a shared vision of 21st Century libraries across Bangladesh that embeds the country’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and provides communities with access to information, knowledge and skills development.

Design and establish model libraries and upgrade library facilities

We are establishing a model public library in Munshiganj and we will scale services and introduce new innovative concepts of learning through creative play in all 64 district government public libraries. We will upgrade ICT facilities and introduce high speed public Wi-Fi internet in all 64 district government public libraries in Bangladesh. State-of-the-art computer educational toolkits (e.g. Kano computer and micro:bit) will be made available in each library and govt. public library based code clubs will be established in all 64 districts where a free course on 'Introduction to Computer Science using micro:bit and Kano' will be offered to the public (especially to the children).

Innovate services and increase library usage rates

We will enable public libraries to provide an increased number of locally-relevant services that directly meet the needs of their communities, such as high-quality and supported free public access to the internet. We will also implement a national awareness campaign and secure partnerships with corporations, NGOs, multi-laterals, foundations and educational institutions enhance the services provided at public libraries and to innovate the role of public libraries to serve the community

Professional development for library practitioners

We will train library staff to provide user-centred 21st-century services and to become catalysts for change in their community. Training includes building digital leadership and ICT skills, community engagement and outreach, customer services, operations and technical management, team building, and event and activity management.

Monitoring, learning, evaluation and best practice

We will establish national monitoring, learning and evaluation systems for libraries’ development process. This will enable analytical capacity and data collection to inform library design and services. We will also seek to share best practice and lessons learned globally.

Computer coding workshops for children

As part of introducing innovative learning technologies at public libraries, Libraries Unlimited is taking Kano computers and micro:bit  and holding computer coding workshops to 64 district level public libraries in Bangladesh by 2020. Through micro:bit and Kano computes (a raspberry pi based educational computer/toolkit), children and young people will be able to learn and develop the skill of coding by attending free classes, run by a pool of volunteers provided by our operational ally BDOSN (Bangladesh Open Source Network) and also local tech enthusiasts. Micro:bit and Kano computers will popularise the context of coding among young people in Bangladesh and this will open exciting opportunities to coding, which is one of the fastest growing occupation worldwide- leading to future employment, community engagement, digital leadership and skills development. Kano computers and micro:bits will be available in all 64 district government public libraries and eventually a public library based code club will be set up in each districts using local resources/club leaders, which will make this initiative sustainable. Additional robotics kit and climate action kits for micro:bits will also be provided to the libraries so that children can come to the library and get a hands-on introduction to robotics (build robot cars using micro:bit that will have light following line following and obstacle avoiding functionalities etc.). Besides, the 'do your :bit' campaign (which is a new BBC micro:bit challenge for children and teens to combine creativity and technology in solutions for the Global Goals) has been rolled out in different districts of Bangladesh which comprises of two day long workshops aiming to inspire children on how to combine technology (micro:bit and it's accessories) and creativity in order to solve global problems around SDGs (SDG 14 and SDG 15).The partnership with BDOSN (Bangladesh Open Source Network) has been extended to host Bangladeh Robot Olympiad, Junior Science Olympiad and World Robot Olympiad activation workshops, seminars etc. in as many district/divisional public libraries of Bangladesh as possible. ICT Ministry is one of the main sponsors of Bangladesh Robot Olympiad.




Below is a list of coding workshops undertaken so far (new date for upcoming workshop will also be made available in the below list as and when the plan is fixed):

No.  Location  Date  Total number of participants  Female Male 
1 Munshiganj District Govt. Public Library  04/09/2018    142  78  64 
2 Sufia Kamal National Public Library, Dhaka  26/09/2018  103  75  28
3 Sufia Kamal National Public Library, Dhaka  24/10/2018  35  16 19 
4 Cox's Bazar District Govt. Public Library  10/11/2018  134 58   76
5 Bandarban District Govt. Public Library  11/11/2018  64  32  32
6 Rangamati District Govt. Public Library   13/11/2018  88  34  54
7 Sufia Kamal National Public Library, Dhaka  19/12/2018  26  9 17 
8 Jessore District Govt. Public Library  08/01/2019  94  33 61 
9 Khulna Divisional Govt. Public Library  09/01/2019  107  41 66 
10 Narayanganj District Govt. Public Library  22/01/2019  122  65  57
11 Panchagarh District Govt. Public Library  25/02/2019  122  65  57
12 Thakurgaon District Govt. Public Library  26/02/2019  135  56  79
13 Nilphamari District Govt. Public Library  27/02/2019  120  65  55
14 Habiganj District Govt. Public Library 24/03/2019  114  52  62
15 Sylhet Divisional Govt. Public Library 25/03/2019  70  34  36
16 Lalmonirhaat District Govt. Public Library 28/04/2019 125 62 63
17 Dinajpur District Govt. Public Library 29/04/2019 144 50 94
18 Rangpur Divisional Govt. Public Library 30/04/2019 111 48 63
19 Satkhira District Govt. Public Library 14/07/2019 121 53 68
20 Bagerhat District Govt. Public Library 15/07/2019 119 56 63
21 Mymensingh Divisional Govt. Public Library 05/08/2019 116 65 51
22 Sherpur District Govt. Public Library 06/08/2019 135 79 56
23 Jamalpur District Govt. Public Library 07/08/2019 126 54 72
24 Gazipur District Govt. Public Library 01/09/2019 116 57 59
25 Tangail District Govt. Public Library 02/09/2019 117 45 72
26 Manikganj District Govt. Public Library 03/09/2019 117 83 34
27 Do your :bit workshop in Sufia Kamal National Public Library Dhaka 24/09/2019 17 9 8
28 Barisal Divisional Govt. Public Library 27/10/2019 110 44 66
29 Patuakhali District Govt. Public Library 28/10/2019 85 54 31
30 Barguna District Govt. Public Library 30/10/2019 120 32 88
31 Do your :bit workshop in Cox’s Bazar District Govt. Public Library 16 - 17 Nov 2019 23 14 9
32 Do your :bit workshop in Mymensingh Diviosional Govt. Public Library 11 - 12 Jan 2020 21 0 21
33 Meherpur District Govt. Public Library 26/01/2020 125 61 64
34 Kushtia District Govt. Public Library 27/01/2020 111 37 74
35 Pabna District Govt. Public Library 29/01/2020 125 58 67
36 Rajshahi Divisional Public Library 15/02/2020 97 7 90
37 Nawabganj District Govt. Public Library 16/02/2020 108 56 52
38 Natore District Govt. Public Library 18/02/2020 114 61 53
  Cumulative total Till date 3879  1793 2086

See also