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History of libraries

The BANTRA PUBLIC LIBRARY, a registered Educational & Social Organisation which has been rendering services for advancement of learning and social welfare for more than 131 years with reputation in Howrah District. This Library runs its show mainly out of subscription and donation from its members and well-wishers. Although the first Primary School that taught English was opened in this industrial hub of Howrah as late as 1868, the BANTRA PUBLIC LIBRARY came into being only 16 years later on Dores Road which has come to be known as Belilious Road.
Little is known about those who took the initiative to form the Library because of documents prior to 1898- 99 are not extant, the Library having no permanent building till much later. The Library site has changed several times- from Kadamtala Bazar to the Bantra Madhusudan Pal Chowdhury School building and after another 6 to 7 changes ultimately to the present address on 19th September,1953 inaugurated by Dr. Suniti Kumar Chattopadhyay.
During this passage of long period, this Library has secured a famed position in this discipline within the State of West Bengal. This Library has a strength of about 2000 members, has its own four-storied building and maintains a stock of around 47000 books of different languages on various subjects. Among the books there are a few rare collections which may not even be readily available in the National Library. This Library is also maintaining a free reading hall open to all with adequate facilities for reading Dailies, Periodicals, Magazines etc. of different languages irrespective of religious and political views. Besides, a Craft Centre for women has been running by the Library from 1st September, 1955 on where Lady Brabourne Diploma Course, Cutting Course, Fabric Course, Wool Knitting Course etc are being organised for making the women of the locality self-reliant. About 90 women from the weaker Section of the society are getting trained every year through these Courses.
The Library has also taken part in the advancement of Sports through its Sports Section where a Table Tennis Academy is also being conducted since 1955. Presently it is in the 2nd floor of the Library with three Table Tennis Boards under the affiliation of WBTTA. The oldest (continuing) All Bengal Table Tennis Tournament of the State is being organized by the Library since 17th January 1960. Besides, a number of Cultural Functions as well as Competitions and Seminars are being organised throughout the year by the Juvenile Section, Cultural Section and Social Education Section of the Library. The first Essay Competition amongst the school students was held in 1950, the first Recitation Competition amongst the school students was held on 22nd August 1954 and the first Debate Competition was held on 5th September 1954.
The 125th year Celebration Ceremony was inaugurated by Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Governor of West Bengal with Opening of a PHOTO EXHIBITION revealing the heritage, nostalgic and golden moments of this Library followed by a SYMPOSIUM on the role of a Public Library in the present society on 15thApril, 2008. The 125th year Celebration Ceremony has been concluded by holding the 51st Bengal Library Conference from 18th to 20th December 2009 where 540 delegates from different districts of the State have taken part and a Road-rally of more than thousand people was organized in the morning of the GRANTHAGAR DIWAS on 20th December 2009.
The most popular and crowd pulling events are ‘Boier Haat’ in the Bantra Public Library which will be held from 22nd to 27th January 2015 and Puspanjali to Devi Saraswati by more than 2700 persons (as expected like previous year) from 7am to 12pm on 25th January 2015. About 20000 visitors are expected to come to this ‘Boier Haat’.

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