From several history books written on Rangpur district, it is learnt that Rangpur as we know it today came to be like this through transformation from ‘Ranggopur’. Ranngopur was a part of Cooch Behar district.

There was never a shortage of literary practice in the region. Litterateur Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay visited Rangpur. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose came to travel there as well. Social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy not only visited the area, he also did some work here.

Many others, including iconic Bengali theatre personalities like Sisir Bhaduri and Ardhendu Sekhar Mustafi have also visited Rangpur.

A visit to Rangpur Public Library found that the library building has been renovated recently. Right in front of the library there is an enormous field with a Shaheed Minar in one corner.

Two of the rooms in the library building were quite silent and peaceful. The surroundings of the library are shaded by tree.

People said the total land area of the establishment including the buildings is 160 decimal. The library building occupies almost 30 per cent of that area. Beside that is an 8-seat auditorium.

From the year 2008, there has been no librarian working there and since then no one has been reading books at the library. Some people just have been reading the newspaper there.

For the lack of proper care, some books were destroyed while some others were stolen. Yet, readers are coming back again and again. Even, tourists come to visit the library from far and wide. The library remains open from 4.00pm to 10.00pm every day a week, except on Mondays.

Rabindra researcher Shashwata Bhattacharjee said, “It is one of the five ancient libraries of undivided Indian subcontinent. We must save this library for our own sake.”

According to Banglapedia, Kundi’s zamindars built this oldest library of the district in 1832. Azizul Islam, caretaker of the library said, there are five and a half thousands books there.

The notable ones among them are encyclopedias, ‘Rabindrasamagra’ (a collection of Rabindranath’s work), several volumes of Pakistan and India’s history, many old calendars, all the volumes of Banglapaedia, etc.

Some books have been freshly bound. He dusts them now and then. Azizul Islam said that a lot of people visit the library to read books when it is opened timely every day. In fact they read newspapers in case they are unable to find books, he added.

There are 17 bookshelves inside those two rooms of the library. Four of them are from vintage period. Books are arranged neatly in each of them.

A wooden table made from sal wood still shines immaculately inside one of the rooms. People regularly read newspaper there.

Theatre artiste and poet Mahmud Nasir was found deeply absorbed reading a book there. He said, “I often come to visit. The ambience is wonderful. I read the newspaper here as there is no scope to read the books stored inside the library. If that is resumed, if will be great for everyone.”

The library is maintained by the district administration. There is a 21-member committee to run it. As per the protocol, Deputy Commissioner of Rangpur Asib Ahsan is the president of that committee while freedom fighter Akbar Hossain is the general secretary.

Deputy Commissioner Asib Ahsan said, there is an advisory council with an executive committee for smooth running of the library. The main building has already been renovated.

Arrangements have also been made for the readers to enjoy books as well as newspapers in a pleasant atmosphere. Soon, readers will be able to the read books stored there, he added.