Rajshahi Public Library
Rajshahi Public Library Though the year of foundation of the Rajshahi Public Library is marked as 1884, it was perhaps founded sometime ago. Ananada Nath Roy, the Raja of Natore had set up a library in Rampur-Boalia (Rajshahi) which became known as the Ananda Nath Library after his name. In 1884 the library came to be known as Rajshahi Public Library and gradually its reputation spread far and wide.
Ananda Nath died in 1866. So the library must have been set up sometime before his death. Raja Chandra Nath Roy, son of Ananda Nath Roy, granted a donation of twenty pounds per annum for the library. The local elite also lent their support in its establishment. Prior to the division of India, in the convention of All India Libraries, which was chaired by Acharya pc ray, the Rajshahi Public Library stood fourth among the libraries of Bangladesh. Promodanath Roy, the Raja of Dighapatia, chaired the committee of this library from 1884 and held the position until his death in 1925. After this the office of the chairman was taken successively by Kumar Sartkumar Ray (1925-1942); Yogindanath Roy, the Raja of Natore (1942-1943) and Babu Kishori Mohon Chowdhury, the Raja of Dighapatia (1943-1952). Local landlords have always been patrons and helmsmen of this institution. The management of the library was hampered as many of them left the country on the eve of the 1947 partition.
Since 1952, Deputy Commissioners of Rajshahi district have been discharging the functions of the chairman of the library in ex-officio capacity.
During the war of liberation many of the books and furniture got lost. After the liberation a new list of books had to be made as there was no genuine information of the books. In 1975 it was given the privilege of copyright. Rajshahi Public Library has also been a centre of literary and cultural activities. On 19 and 20 July1984, the centenary of the library was celebrated and the 'Hundred Years' Memorial Book: 1984' was published by the library. At present the total number of books including many rare collections in this library is 35,769 and the number of newspapers is 30,000. [SM Abdul Latif]