Our Library Service Promotes Literacy, Supports Education, and Develops Skills.
Book Boxes to Rural Zimbabwe
The town library serves as a base for the rural outreach to Gwanda District, providing book boxes to 75 rural schools. We reach approximately two thirds of the children aged 5 to 12 in the district, so 28,000 children have access to 29,000 books. The books include supplementary reading material in English, both fiction and non-fiction, most being donated by Book Aid International, a charity based in the UK. We also buy books published locally, especially those in local languages spoken in the district, SiNdebele and SeSotho. There are three different programmes
Library Services in Gwanda
We have built a large library with two wings and offices. One wing caters for adults and students, including secondary school pupils; it offers books of all categories as well as newspapers. The second wing is dedicated to children of pre-school and primary school ages. Besides reading and borrowing books the children come for storytelling and other activities such as crafts, writing and drama related to the stories. In both wings, anyone is welcome to come in and read; those who pay a small subscription may borrow as well.
We want the library also to help adults in the depressed rural communities to generate income. We employ two field officers who assist villagers to form groups which identify viable projects and then use books in the boxes at their school to learn the necessary specialised skills and the management of a micro-business. The field officers initiate discussion on topical issues, and organise workshops to help them succeed. We now have study circles engaged in market gardening, goat rearing, chickens, fish farming and crafts. The aim is to help them move from a subsistence economy to small-scale commercial production.
Workshops & Training
Training is primarily done through small workshops. These are held with teachers, heads of schools and community leaders to help them to understand the importance of a library and how it can be used to assist with children’s learning. We train a teacher-librarian in each school to manage the books and the borrowing, and we have also held special workshops on the teaching of reading and on the use of e-readers. Workshops are also frequently held for the members of the study circles, especially on planning their projects.