>Wednesday 4th – running reader-friendly libraries, day one

>Having seen many libraries over the last few days, today I ran day one of a workshop for librarians, mostly from secondary schools but also Africa Education Trust outreach officers. Participants are mainly from Somaliland but a few have made it from Mogadishu where AET have programmes in South and Central Somalia. The participants are active and quick to engage, though the women are a little quieter. We look at the role of the library and librarians, and the tasks of library committees. It is soon apparent that one problem is the lack of ‘incentives’, ‘encouragements’ and ‘motivation’ for librarians i.e. pay. Most librarians receive no pay but they did for a few years up until 2006 thanks to donor support. At present, some are volunteers and some also teach.

This is always a difficult issue because so many libraries are dependent on donor support to run effectively, and education authorities , especially here in Somaliland, have few resources to offer. We discuss opportunities to raise funds in the local community, and I suggest that each library committee meets and brainstorms to try to come up with ideas. I can see there are ideas but I am not sure that they will raise sufficient funds to keep the libraries open more often and provide the right ‘incentives’ for the librarians.

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