The Chittagong University’s (CU) central library has come a long way since it started its journey with only 14,000 books and limited staff in 1968.
It was then housed in a temporary building covering a floor area of only 1,200 square feet. It was shifted temporarily to the present administrative building at the end of 1973 and got its own building in 1990.
Today, it boasts of being the country’s largest library building with a floor area of 56,700 square feet. The three-storey library in front of the Arts Faculty building has a collection of around three lakh books, 35,000 journals, 60,000 rare books, 1,200 thesis papers, 1,750 research papers, 4,000 Braille books and around 1,500 CDs on different topics.
All academic books and monographs are kept in the ground and first floors. The collection also consists of reputed current journals and over 33,967 bound volumes arranged alphabetically by title.
All the books and journals are arranged according to the Dewey decimal classification number so that documents of the same or related subjects are placed together.
The library has three large reading rooms for teachers and students of different faculties and institutes. There are 12 rooms for individual study and research for MPhil and PhD students.
The reference section of the library comprises dictionaries, handbooks, manuals, encyclopaedias, publishers’ catalogues, government publications, university publications, books in print, different publications of the UN, World Bank, UNESCO, IMF, World Almanacs, ILO, BBS, Maps, UNICEF, and several NGOs etc, among others.
It also has some reference staff members to assist those searching for specific information. The library’s pride, however, is a rare collection of around 650 manuscripts written in Bengali, Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit and Urdu that were written during the period 1872–1953.
If anyone who is not a CU student wants to use the library, the person is required to have a letter of introduction from his/her respective organisation or institute and also need special permission from the librarian or the varsity authorities.
However, these “outsiders” cannot borrow any books or materials from the library.
The library remains open from 8 am to 8 pm on working days and has 60 employees working in two shifts.
Talking to The Independent, the chief librarian, AKM Mahfuzul Haque Khokon, said: “We have already installed a computerised automation system in the central library. We have 14 computers and a server to help visitors to find out necessary materials easily without the hassle of going through manual catalogues.”
Courtesy by : The Independent