By Abdi Ali
Published October 22, 2015
A United Kingdom-based charity has donated e-readers to children’s corners in 10 public libraries in Uganda and sponsored Kenyan Librarians’ Awards.
The organisation, Book Aid International, has partnered with National Library of Uganda and Worldreader to bring 20 e-readers pre-loaded with 200 titles to support education and reading into Children’s Corners in each of the 10 libraries it is working with.
Saying many of the primary schools in the vicinity of the 10 libraries involved do not have school libraries, Stella Nekuusa, Principal Librarian for National Library of Uganda, says children are usually held back from learning about anything beyond what is taught in school. “Now with the e-readers,” she says, “they have hundreds of books at their fingertips, with content from all over the world including African content and Ugandan titles. This makes a real difference for them as they can recognise the world which they read about in their books.”
Nekuusa says the digital content will give access to books which parents can rarely afford for their children.
“The e-readers are especially useful as they do not suffer the wear and tear that books can, especially the most popular stories,” says Nekuusa. “The learning process has been made more independent as pupils teach themselves the meaning of words by checking them out from the inbuilt programmed dictionary. We believe that our work of promoting a reading culture has received a real boost because children that have accessed stories on e-readers are now picking printed books to read whenever it’s not their time to use the e-readers. Soon we shall realise how reading improves their vocabulary and ability to express themselves and confidence to communicate in the English language.”
Meanwhile in Nairobi, Book Aid International, for the second year running, supported Kenya Library Association’s Maktaba Awards 2015 by donating brand new books to each of the 18 winners.
As part of Book Aid International’s support “to encourage a culture where reading is celebrated and excellence in library services is promoted” the organisation rewarded the winners in each of the six categories with brand new dictionaries as prizes on the night as well as 200 further books to come to boost their collections,” said Jessica Faulkner, Head of Communications at Book Aid International.
The Maktaba Awards, which aim to recognise, reward and encourage inspiring library practice in Kenya, were held on September 29, 2015 in the Louis Leakey Auditorium of the Nairobi National Museum.
Book Aid International works in 11 African countries and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to distribute books and learning resources and to train librarians. The charity partners with local library services and communities to provide safe, engaging spaces to access books and reading.