I attended the Reading for the Future Conference organised by the Reading Association of Uganda a week ago and I got enmeshed in the idea of improving the reading culture of our children. In the process I also met a gentleman who rides around in Western Uganda on his bike visiting schools with his mini library, teaching children how to read and distributing donated books.
Paper to papers and concept to concepts were presented, interesting one at that. But the paper presented by Mr. Lukabwe Fred a Consultant at Enhance Abilities Initiative and Chairperson, NAEA[U] got me thinking that we can do more for future in regard to reading and development of children’s minds.
His paper was about community libraries and how vital they are to community development and empowerment. Like how community libraries can be involved in children’s reading development, encourage understanding than passing, motivate mother tongue development alongside English and other languages.
This is the local centre of information which is located in an accessible place for everyone who has the ability to read and write can reach. This library is put in place, organized and maintained by the community members themselves. It is a personal reflection and empowerment making all kinds of knowledge and information readily available to its users.
Mr. Lukabwe said this kind of library can provide the basis of equality of access for all, regardless of age, race, sex, religion, nationality, language or social status. Specific services and materials can be provided for those who cannot afford them, and regular use of services and materials, for example linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, the older persons, children in non formal education or people in hospital or prison can also get access to desired information.
But I have seen our public places, and our privately owned establishments, no one cares about the disabled. Staircases everywhere, yet we must ensure that everyone everywhere is equally represented and facilitated if we want to get Sustainable Development Goals achieved.
Freedom, Prosperity and the Development of society and individuals are fundamental human values. They will only be attained through the ability of well-informed citizens to exercise their democratic rights and to play an active role in society. Constructive participation and the development of democracy depends on satisfactory education as well as on free and unlimited access to knowledge, thought, culture and information.
Importance of Community Libraries
- creating and strengthening reading habits in children at an early age;
- supporting both individual and self conducted education as well as formal education at all levels;
- providing opportunities for personal creative development;
- Gaining accuracy in reading silently and loudly.
- stimulating the imagination and creativity of children and young people;
- promoting awareness of cultural heritage, appreciation of the arts, scientific achievements and innovations;
- providing access to cultural expressions of all performing arts;
- fostering inter-cultural dialogue and favoring cultural diversity;
- supporting the oral tradition;
- ensuring access for citizens to all sorts of community information.
I can’t share the whole paper but find it here and make your own observations and conclusions on the state of libraries and their importance in your own community.