Update from MLISADA library in #Uganda

I want to update you on what is going on during the short holiday period with our children at MLISADA. children are making use of the library resources like question banks, story books to help them keep on track and also we have and still doing home visits for our children who attend library activities at the organization. These reading programs continue until the children go back to school. Update by Leticia Mbabazi, MLISADA Librarian, Uganda.

Good news from Uganda

Kitengesa library has been included in a list to receive computers from the Ministry of Communications for the Digital Skills. Several other COLAU (UgCLA) libraries are also included in that list. Of course, we don’t know how many computers or of what kind they’ll be, but we won’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Book Aid International gave out 12 Community Reading Awards to all of Africa in 2022—and the money is just now coming through. Of these 12, 3 are members of COLAU. Each beneficiary is to receive 2540 pounds for implementing a community reading project.

Some photos from Kitengesa Library activity #Uganda

Muhammad has just sent us photos of the Digital Skills Project that they’ve been running with the support of the National Library of Uganda. These are mostly from the activity of learning how to make a paper bag, using online videos! Another activity was called “Tailors’ fashions” where they took the computers out to a meeting of tailors and taught them how to search for fashion ideas.

M-LISADA community library event in Nsambya, Uganda

From Emmanuel Anguyo, UgCLA coordinator:

Music For Life Skills Africa and Destitution Alleviation (M-LISADA) community library in Nsambya on 15th March, 2023 gathered 30 children both boys and girls to come and get a book of their choice and read, for the celebration of the D. E. A. R Day. The children were given opportunity to explore the library resources and share what they have best learnt. Most of the children were street children from the slums of Katwe, Kampala. Space is still a challenge and the outside tent will be organized to accommodate more participants over time.

Kitengesa library update from Kate Parry #Uganda

The librarians at Kitengesa, Moses and Muhammad, are excited to be participating in a project called Learning Circles. The project is supported by the National Library of Uganda in partnership with EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries), the Maendeleo Foundation (which promotes the use of computers in Uganda), Peer To Peer Uganda (which works with Uganda Youth, particularly to promote health), and Wehubit (, a European-funded NGO, which aims to boost digital social innovation). The purpose of the project is to teach participants to access and use information from the internet, using either their smartphones, if they have them, or computers, which the Kitengesa Community Library is now better placed to provide, having purchased two new ones last year.

The first step for our librarians was to attend a workshop in July 2022, which was organized by the National Library in Kampala. There they learnt how to access appropriate information on the internet and how to explain it to a group of up to twenty village participants. Then they returned home, found and downloaded appropriate material (it was a YouTube video about how to make paper bags), and organized a group of people to come in to the library for three days in one week in December to access the video and follow it to make paper bags themselves. Moses and Muhammad helped each participant to open a Google account and find the URL; then everyone made their first paper bags using newspaper; once they got it right made the final products with they went on to make the final products with sugar paper, which the librarians provided. Everyone went home with a bag, and one was given to me when I visited just over a week ago.

In November the two returned to Kampala to report on their success and learn about what had been done in other libraries. The organizers were evidently pleased with their report, for they are now planning three more Learning Circles at which participants will learn how to make note books, charcoal stoves, and liquid soap, for all of which Muhammad has already downloaded all the information from the internet. Participants will be asked to contribute to the cost of materials; those for the books will cost 300 shillings each, and once the participants have them, they can sell them for 500 shillings apiece; the idea is to show them how to make things that they can either sell or use themselves. All the participants were fully engaged, I hear, and certainly the bag that I have is quite nice (it is decorated with a nice picture of a bird, and would do well for wrapping small items).

Community libraries in Uganda

From Emmanuel Anguyo, trained librarian and Coordinator, COLAU: In this world where information is required by everyone at all levels, community libraries in Uganda have gone ahead to serve all categories of persons in different communities including children, youth, adults, and the elderly. Majority of these community libraries are managed by non-professional librarians. Need identification becomes a challenge and therefore teachers, users and parents have to be involved in the selection and acquisition process to help identify the best information resources for use. Library services are offered to schools, business communities, women’s groups, farmers, refugees and many more. Community libraries are a haven for most people and the Community Libraries Association of Uganda (COLAU) continues to coordinate resources or activities on behalf or together with the members. With now 150 registered members (COLAU annual report, 2022), COLAU continues to offer support through identifying partners that can support the works of members, administer grants from donors to members, mobilise and allocate information resources to members, monitor and evaluate performance of projects being implemented through the Association as well as create networks and linkages. COLAU does not work independently while doing its work. It partners with like-minded organizations and individuals to perform its duties to meet goals and objectives.

Community libraries scattered all over the country do offer free services while some charge a minimum fee of 500 shillings and a maximum of about 1,000 Shillings as a daily membership to support the maintenance of these spaces. People flock to the libraries to get access to information from books, Newspapers, Magazines and the internet. Libraries serve 3 to 10 schools near and far, and receive about 40 to 80 users per visit from schools. The highest peak of users depends on the location of each library and the target groups. The community libraries have a unique niche in the category of people they serve. Most users are reached through outreach programs using mobile libraries; book banks, books on bikes, books in backpacks, books in vans among others. One way of fighting illiteracy. However, there is much need for training of community librarians in basic library management skills, provision of relevant information materials which best suit the needs and wants of users, creating awareness about the importance of libraries and their services, equipping libraries with user friendly furniture; chairs, tables, storage cabinets and shelves for convenience while using the library and also refurbishing the library spaces to make them more attractive for users.

An example is the Centre For Children And Library Foundation (CECLIF) Community Libraryin Abwanget village, Osukuru Town Council, Tororo district, Eastern Uganda with currently 2,000 books in stock serves 4 schools and over 6 villages.

Photo by Denis Okir, Founder CECLIF, ceclifoundation2020@gmail.com

Annual report 2023 Nyungu Streams Community Resource Centre in #Uganda

Nyungu Streams Community Resource Centre,  a registered community library, is located in western Uganda, Sheema district. Here is their annual report.