| Journey through Bangldesh
A Public Library:
Contributing for 82 years
Najli Shamima Akhter
For the last eighty-two years Sayed Ator Ali Public library has been serving the people of Magura on quench in their thirst for knowledge. At the same time it has turned into a place of gathering for the local cultural activists.
The library was not originally called Sayed Ator Ali Library. In 1924, Mr. Lindsey, an Educational Official of the British government set up the library with the help of some local people who were enthusiastic about knowledge and learning. It was founded in a two-roomed tin-shed built on a 46 decimals of land. The library was named 'Lindsey Library' commemorating the contribution of Mr. Lindsey.
During the second world war the library was shifted to a room in front of the Super Market at Magura town as the library building was then being used as a food office by the then government. However, the library came back to its own building after the war.
In 1947, after the country's partition, the institution was named Quad-e-Azam Zinnah Memorial library. Subsequently with the independence of Bangladesh, the name of the institution also changed. It was renamed as Sayed Ator Ali Public Library in remembrance of Sayed Ator Ali, a former local M.N.A and a social organizer who contributed to the Liberation War in many ways. The library has retained this name till today.
The reading room of the library is on the ground floor of the building. It is open for all, and people can read various newspapers and magazines here. Besides the reading room, there is a large hall room on the ground floor. Different social and cultural programmes are held at the hall room.
The books of the library are preserved on the 1st floor of the building. At present the library has more than ten thousand books. The library is enriched with many rare and valuable books. By mid-day number of young and old men and women would quietly slip in here and look for the books they need. Some will sit down with piles of books at the few tables that are there. But most readers or members prefer to take books out and read them at home.
Cultural activities of Magura town cannot be imagined without the library. Various national occasions, including the Ekushey Book fair, are also held at the library premises. Different cultural organisations use the premises for their regular programmes. Indeed, the institution provides a generous shelter to the local cultural workers. In the afternoons, the library premises becomes resounded with the uproar of cultural activists.
Those who have successfully discharged their duties as secretaries of the library are: Shuresh Roy Chowdhury (1930-1953), A.K Azad (1954-1956), Sayedul Huqe (1957-1963). The present Secretary of the library, educationist Khan Ziaul Huq has been holding the post since 1964. His untiring endeavor has given it a strong infrastructure and financial solvency.
In conclusion, it may be said that Ator Ali Public Library deserves the credit of being one of the rich libraries of this region.
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