Sunday, April 01, 2007

Reading in national languages

Our emphasis in the libraries we support is to have books that people want to read, not books that we think are good for them to read (what librarians call the Jean-Paul Sartre vs Danielle Steele problem). In Burkina our readers by huge margins want to read African novels (and not Barbie goes shopping). In Ghana the schoolchildren want to read their school texts, and study in the library. In both places, there is a small but growing demand for books in local languages- Gurunya in the Bolgatanga, Ghana area and Djula in southwestern Burkina Faso. Trouble is, there are almost no books printed in those languages. So we stock what we can get, and watch them get read over and over… Here is Darius with a Gurunya text donated by the Ghana Regional Library Board to the Sumbrungu Community Library.

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