Libraries and Librarianship in Bangladesh

  • Jody Bales Foote Southern Illinois University


This paper summarizes the 1995 situation, which is characterized by low budgets, poor physical plants, low status for librarians, and a lack of new technology. There are 65 public libraries to serve 120 million persons; only a few large schools have books for the use of pupils. The most successful libraries are special libraries—many of them supported from external sources. Dhaka University (founded 1921) has the country’s largest library, with 550,000 volumes. There are 12 other academic libraries, the largest at Rajshahi University and Chittagong University. The National Library has 200,000 volumes. Library education is centered at Dhaka University, which has had a department since 1959 and has offered a master’s degree since 1962. There is also a diploma course at Rajshahi University. An active library association, established 1956, now has a membership of 1,350. It sponsors training, holds conferences, and publishes a journal. Human resources show promise for the future, as the library community demonstrates a strong sense of professionalism and national purpose.

Author Biography

Jody Bales Foote, Southern Illinois University
Jody Bales Foote is Assistant Education/Psychology Librarian at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She was a Fulbright Professor at the Library Training Institute of Bangladesh, Dhaka, in Fall 1992; she had previously lectured in Bangladesh, in 1985. Her article on libraries in Bangladesh appeared in the ALA’s World Encyclopedia of Library and Information Services.