Institutionalization of community libraries in the slum communities of Kampala: A partnership analysis
Mutibwa, Lois Nankya
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Reading is a key evidence based intervention for child development besides play and home visiting that enhances language and vocabulary acquisition. However, literacy acquisition for quality education remains a threat to global development. Such is not only attributed to absence of public or community libraries that are the key gatekeepers to reading; but this situation is worsened by their none-existence, mismanagement and absence of reading initiative. In partnership with Children International in Uganda, Makerere University, East African School of Library and Information Science (EASLIS) and, other stakeholders; a community reading programme was initiated in the slum communities of Kampala. This was intended to institutionalize community library services to serve the urban poor children deprived of the right to access information (reading materials) given the environment and their settlement patterns. Using applied research, participant observation, document review and reflective community meetings data was collected about this programme. The focus was on primary activities such as reading literacy programme in the urban poor communities of Kampala, i.e. 8 reading tents, 2 community and 4 mobile libraries were established. In this partnership 10 university volunteers were trained and approximately 1543 children were reached. Peer to peer mentorship, exchange visits and learning were initiated; increased school attendance and enrolment were realised and partner involvement with organisations like Kampala Capital City Authority, National Library of Uganda was started for sustainability of the programme. This paper will present experiences, lesson learnt and challenges in partnership to institutionalize community libraries for reading in the urban poor communities of Kampala.