Saturday, May 09, 2009

A library founder in Uganda

Kate Parry writes:

One of the Uganda Community Library Association’s members, Michael Oguttu, has written the following account of his own motives in setting up a community library at Bugiri. I have visited it, and at present it has little to offer, while the need is evidently enormous. At the same time, it’s a shining example of the kind of local initiative that UgCLA is trying to encourage. Michael himself is the librarian of another UgCLA member library, Inforall, in Kampala.

From: Oguttu Michael []
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 5:07 PM


After working for a community in Kampala, I realized how important libraries are to the promotion of reading culture, literacy and development and also improvement of education performance in the world. This also made me believe that books/information materials or information can change/improve the ways of living. From the fact that I studied from my home district(Bugiri) Uganda, where there are so many private schools and only few government owned schools. Most of the schools have no libraries and only few have books which are kept in books, which actually limit children/students access to books. Most of the teachers don’t have access to textbooks-this means that they only use the notes they copied during their study/school days, and yet the syllabus changes which has or is leading to poor performance in education sector in most rural schools. Another fact is that the income of rural based families is so low and they can not manage to buy text books for their children, this is also proved by many parents failing to pay school fees which have led to many school drop-outs in Bugiri and Uganda at large. Not forgetting that even if the government introduced universal primary and secondary education (UPE and USE) respectively, many children/students are not going to schools due to failure by parents to buy only scholastic materials which is due to poor states in families. Although I got the interest of helping my home district/nation by establishing a community library, I didn’t wakeup one day morning and put it in place. But it was a gradual process.

I started by saving some of the money from my little allowances I got.
In July 2008, I attended the workshop of people who were eager to establish a community library in their local areas which was organized by Uganda community libraries association (UgCLA).after which I learnt skills of how to start and run a community library.
And it was from there that I got the courage to go and talk to the leaders in Bugiri district, residents, and my family members who all welcomed the idea. But their major worry was where the funds will come from. But I answered them that all will be solved. And now the library is operating helping both children and adults.

I believe that, ‘there is nothing good like serving my others in need’.

Mr. Oguttu Michael
+256 75 1 935 054.

The Bugiri Community Library. Michael Oguttu, the founder, is on the right, in the back row, and the librarian, whom he pays from his own salary, is in front. Also in the back row is Michael's brother, who works as library assistant - and all the others are children who were playing around the front of the library and whom the library hopes to serve. )

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