DU library in a sorry state

Has 1 seat for 24 students

Hasan Al Manjur

Although the Dhaka University central library opens at 8am students gather and queue up in front of the locked entrance from 7am to grab a seat and study inside as, on an average, it has just 1 seat for 24 students. Currently the library has only 1400 sits for around 33,000 students of the university. Number of students has increased over the years but the accommodation in its central library has not seen any expansion accordingly, disowning the students of availing themselves of its facilities, alleged the students.

It is seen that every morning students gather in front of the library's entrance from 7:00am and queue there to grab a seat inside. Central librarian Jabed Ahmed said the number of seats in the library has been increased to 1,400 from 700 in the last few years. However, this is too inadequate to accommodate the present number of students.

Ahmed Reza, a student of Arabic department, told the Bangladesh Post, "I always try to come here before 7:30am to obtain a seat in the library. Even sometimes I keep my bag on the ground in the line before 7:00am and come back later to reclaim the spot to avail myself of a seat in the library.'' Hasan Al Mamun, a masters' student of DU philosophy department told this correspondent, “We are to stand in queue in front of the library gate for a seat, but standing for a long time in the early morning is quite difficult. It also waste our time."

Students alleged that deepening the crisis and depriving the regular students, a number of non-students, irregular students and outsiders also get into the library. Former students and job seekers come to the library too to prepare for various job exams like BCS, bank and government jobs, sidelining many regular students.

Nasimul Huda, a second-year student of Mass Communication and Journalism department, said, "It's quite difficult for us to manage a seat in the library for academic study as outsiders, non students and job seekers stand in queues outside the library gate before it opens.” Rafayet Jishan, a student of English department, said there are no adequate photocopiers in the library while many are not well-maintained for copying documents. "This deprives us of enjoying the full library facilities as taking books outside is not permitted," he said.

Mahbuba Yeasmin Shahana, a second year student of Islamic studies told this correspondent that they suffer a lot as the dormitory lacks suitable atmosphere for studying and the seats in the reading room are also limited. Librarian Prof SM Zabed Ahmed said there is shortage of seats in the library and another building is needed to resolve the crisis."Seats cannot be increased vertically as the central library is a heritage building of the University," he said this correspondent over the phone.

DU Vice-Chancellor Prof Akhtaruzzaman also agreed the accommodation problem in central library and added that immediate steps would be taken to solve the crisis. "We have lack of space to build another library building and it needs huge amount of money. Anyway we will take necessary steps to solve the accommodation problems.'"

The library that began its journey simultaneously with the Dhaka University in 1921. It has 6,74,538 books and magazines besides 30,000 rare manuscripts and a large number of booklets, leaflets, pamphlets, and puthis which are also preserved in microfilms. Dhaka University (DU) central library is considered as the largest library in Bangladesh.