> Hannah: The first day of any trip traditionally starts with a visit to the National Central Library, and it was a great introduction for Karen and I to meet Dr. Alli Mcharazo, Director General of the Tanzania National Library Services Board (TLSB). We were also really excited to see the first of the Children’s Library Corners, which we received funding for at the end of last year.
Karen: As a former Children’s Librarian, I was inspired by the passion of ‘Mama Africa’ the incredibly energetic and enthusiastic leader of the project. The sunny room that had been provided for the Children’s Corner, with its comfortable cushions and maps was a welcoming environment for any child visiting the library. Although they are still waiting for the final purchase of books in Swahili, the local language of primary school instruction, it was clear that the corner is already well used and well loved.
Rob: The afternoon was earmarked for visiting the School of Library and Archival Documentation Studies (SLADS). The school has expanded rapidly in the town of Bagamoyo to support over 400 students, housed in a campus on the outskirts of the town. We were able to meet the students and talk to them about our work – they had very insightful questions about how we pick partners and libraries to send books to and the use of ICTs in our work. It is encouraging to see that the rapid expansion of the college means that being a librarian is now, more than ever seen as a viable and attractive career among the young people of Tanzania.
Karen: We were pleased to be invited to Alli’s home in the evening for dinner and to discuss the future of library development in Tanzania. A busy day tomorrow means that an early night was the sensible option!