Modern Bangladesh emerged as an independent nation in 1971 after breaking away and achieving independence from Pakistan in the Bangladesh Liberation War. The country’s borders corresponded with the major portion of the ancient and historic region of Bengal in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, where civilization dates back over four millennia, to the Chalcolithic. The history of the region is closely intertwined with the history of Bengal and the broader history of the Indian subcontinent.
About two third province of Bengal became the Eastern part of Pakistan due to partition of Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan in 1947. Earlier Bangladesh was called East Bengal, later East Pakistan did not receive any share of books and other library materials from the important libraries of Bengal as the division of the provincial assets.
However the library movement in Bangladesh was started in 1850 with the establishment of 4 public libraries during the period of British rule in India. The year 1850 is known as the milestone in the history of librarianship in Bangladesh. Since then no more significant libraries were established till 1954. As we knew that Pakistan Bibliographical Working Group (PBWG) was formed in the year 1950 under patronization of then Pakistan Government at the suggestions of UNESCO. The Group was reorganized in 1953, in it’s meeting which was held on 6 July 1954, constituted an ad hoc Committee to form a National Association. Thus Pakistan Library Association (PLA) came into being in July 1956. The representative of erstwhile East Pakistan (now The People’s Republic of Bangladesh ) was in the ad hoc Committee. So that Karachi led in founding the All Pakistan Association. Few meetings were held in Karachi.
There was a complete vacuum in East Pakistan. Dhaka University Library was the only library worth mention fell in part of East Pakistan. The Registrar of the University was part-time Librarian. A few subscription libraries having few fictions were called public libraries. Semi government organizations and autonomous bodies had small libraries. In 1954, then the East Pakistan Central Public Library was established in Dhaka, the capital city. In this situation absence of a Library Association was keenly felt. Therefore seven practicing librarians of Dhaka assembled in 1954 in Plassey Barracks and discussed the importance of Association and about library situation in East Pakistan and resolved to popularize library movement. They are in the person of Mr. A.R. Mirdah, Mr. A.E.M. Shamsul Huq, Mr. Rakib Hossain, Mr. Siddiq Ahmed Chawdhury, Mr. Jamil Khan, Khandkar Abdur Rab and Mr. Tofazzal Hossain. Their effort took the shape of a library movement in East Pakistan . In 1955, an ad-hoc committee with Professor Dr. Nafiz Ahmad, Part-time Librarian of Dhaka University as convener. Mr. Ahmad Husain, Librarian, Central Public Library, Mr. Rakib Hossain, Librarian, USIS and Ms. Nargis Zafar, Reference Librarian, USIS was formed. Meanwhile, in June 1956, Late Mr. Mohammad Siddique Khan joined Dhaka University as Librarian. Immediately after his return from UK and joining as Librarian he joined the Association. Mr. M.S. Khan’s inclusion and active participation gave a new lease of life and spirit to this nascent Association. A constitution drafting subcommittee consisting of Mr. Ahmad Husain, Mr. A.R. Mirdah and Mr. Rakib Hossain was soon formed. They were assisted by Mr. Shamsuzzoha Ansari, a reader in Department of Law, Dhaka University. East Pakistan Library Association (EPLA) was formed on the basis of that constitution in 1956. At 5 P.M. on Sunday 30 June 1957, the historic Annual General Meeting of the newly born Association was held in the United States Information Services (USIS) auditorium to adopt the constitution. Most of the member Librarians of Dhaka City attended the meeting. The office bearers of the Association were also elected top run the affairs and carry forward the ideals of the Association. They were:
|1||President||Mr. M. S. Khan||Librarian, Dhaka University|
|2||Vice President||i) Mr. Ahmad Husain||Librarian, Central Public Library|
|ii) Mr. A .E. M. Shamsul Huq||Keeper of Records, Secretariat Records and Secretariat Library, East Pakistan|
|3||Secretary||Mr. Rakib Hossain||Chief Librarian, USIS, Dhaka|
|4||Treasurer||Mr. A. R. Mirdah||Assistant Librarian, Dhaka University|
|5||Assistant Secretary||i) Mr. A. M. Motahar Ali Khan||Assistant Librarian, Central Public Library, Dhaka|
|ii) A. Z. Nur Ahmad||Reading Room Superintendent, Dhaka University Library|
|6||Councillors||i) Dr. Nafis Ahmed|
|ii) M. C. Chanda||Dhaka University Library|
|iii) Nargis Zafar||USIS Library|
|iv) Abdullah-al-Abedin||Central Public Library, Dhaka|
|v) K. A. Rab||Dhaka College Library|
|vi) S. A. Chawdhury||East Pakistan Statistical Board|
|vii) B. Rahman Faruq|