>Friday 6th – running reader-friendly libraries, day 3

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Friday is normally a day off in Somaliland but the participants have agreed to work until 11.30am. We start the day visiting the Africa Educational Trust (AET) library where participants have the chance to quiz the librarian about the library (see last Sunday’s entry) which is orderly and organised. Afterwards, we discuss lending books – most librarians are reluctant as the library stocks are relatively small. I point out research from Tanzania that concludes that pupils in schools which lend books do better academically and improve their reading abilities. We then looking at the issue of girls using libraries. There are barriers restricting use because girls have a lot of domestic work and are shy to sit with boys. Particpants suggest sensitising teachers, parents and schools to the importance of girls using libraries and also suggest special opening sessions for girls and sitting sections for girls. The introduction of single-sex libraries is also suggested (in some schools, there are single-sex classes). The women at the workshop are less shy today and contribute more, suggesting that shyness can be overcome! Overall, the workshop has gone well , and participants want a workshop every year now!
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