The library in Boni has been closed for almost a year now. The office of the mayor (the local rural council) had been unable to agree over how to supervise and pay the librarian. The cost is rather small, about $1,500 per year, but some local governments are unwilling to allocate any amount to support their local libraries. They justify this refusal in a variety of ways: they claim they are not allowed, legally, to hire a librarians; they have no extra budget for a library; they have no ability to supervise a librarian; the librarian is too old. The list of excuses goes on, and sometimes is incoherent. The team often gets a sense that the mayor and his staff are negotiating with us: “We know that you, FAVL, want the library open, so how much are you willing to pay us to get us to approve opening it?” We do not play that game.
The new mayor of Boni, Sinkondo Clément, fortunately is very interested in re-opening the library, and is working well with the FAVL team. Here in the photo is the mayor and the secretary-general of the commune, and FAVL representative Sanou Dounko (at right), after a productive meeting a couple of weeks ago.