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FE Education
A library of your own
Nahid Kaisar Toma

          Much have been written on the necessity of library, be it for personal, local, social or public purposes. My present article concentrates on some outcome of not having a library of your own, what loss it can be for family member from not having a family library. In support of my argument, I'll be citing examples taken from practical life.
The very first one is a story. I heard it from one of my teachers who oneday in our class said that one of his friends always complained that his children were not studious and were too extrovert to stay at home, that he was at a fix about its reason and found the major reason behind his children being in such state was that the house had no library. It was a two-storied house consisting of 15 rooms but not a single library!
The professor told his friend that it was the lack of library, which could otherwise offer an atmosphere of study and develop the habit of reading, which, above all, is the essence of education. When the friend asked for a probable solution, the professor declared that it was too late since the children were adult and habituated in their present behaviour and they would not change. So, parents who still have not bothered about it, must give a thought to it.
One thing I must clarify is that by library I don't mean a Mark-Twain-type piles and piles of innumerous books. I just mean our private collection of books organised in a systematic way and kept in a place where all the members of family can find them to their convenience.
Another example I'll mention is taken from one of my best friends' life. His father is one of the most renowned professors of political science and writer of many books. His father has a library which occupies (seems to be unbelievable!) two rooms of their six-roomed apartment. But since his boyhood he was not allowed to enter his father's book-world. Whenever he tried, he was rebuked, even beaten. As a result he has grown a son totally unlike his father: no interest in study, writing or anything related to this kind. Someday, I talked to his father and he offered me his library and said that I could take any book or be in his library whenever I am in need of it. Listening to it, my friend gave a satiric smile which means many things: complaints, surprises, annoyance, disrespects and what not.
Another day, that father of my friend complained to me that his only son never read his articles or writes something himself. Then I told him in a mild way that he was not allowed to be in that library when he was interested. And he also feels that it is too late now. All these messes happen due to a few mistaken steps taken by parents who either do not bother about the importance of it or are afraid that reading outside syllabus will harm their academic studies, as has happened to my cousin.
My aunt, who can be termed as a woman of discipline, made such a mistake. She brought up her two children in stern military like discipline and never allowed them to read anything except their academic books. As a result my cousin- brother passed SSC on the third time and my cousin-sister failed SSC for the fourth time and is thinking of sitting for the exam for the fifth time. My aunt always condemned my mother for letting us read whatever we liked on the ground that either we would fail in exams or we would go to the dogs by reading forbidden books. Now, I thank my mother for doing what she did, though we had no library in our house, she allowed us to borrow them, from others and let us read them. Even my father objected my spending so much time on reading (for pleasure), but mother defended me.
A library can be a stockpile of stereotype books. I know a family that has a collection of 12,000 books but all of those books are only "Islamic" in nature. This makes the purpose of library confined to a very narrow field. All the members (8/9 ) of that family reads nothing besides there Islamic books, but practically speaking when I talk to them I find them lacking in many common ideas and knowledge.
I used to teach English to one of the family members (a standard V11 student of an English medium school), and I expressed my liking for Humayun Azad's writing. As a result, I was fired from the next month. Now I wonder, how horrible pride they take in their 'library' which is so incomplete!
I do not mean to sing a hymn to library to bore my readers to death. My purpose is to share with them my experience with the people, who unfortunately are deprived of having any library for one or another reason. After all, whatever your aim in life is, a library is always a boon to you, a friend whose significance we often do not realise until it's too late.


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