By Leonard Masauli
Ministry of Education has hailed an initiative by the National Library Service (NLS) to introduce a mobile van library as a way to reach out to more learners with no access to books and promote reading culture in the country.
The sentiment follows a reading promotion event conducted at Kalambo Primary School in Lilongwe on Friday to promote reading culture amongst learners.
Speaking during the event, Principal Secretary for basic education in the Ministry of Education, Dr Rachel Chimbwete Phiri, said the introduction of mobile van library is an important initiative to reach out to many students who do not have access to library services in their schools.
“As a ministry, we are trying our best to promote reading culture amongst students and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing reading materials for early grade classes to expose the learners to a wide range of books beyond the ones that are on the curriculum.
“The National Library Service is also trying it’s best and they have introduced mobile van library and digital libraries in their institutions to reach out to many students and people in the communities to promote the dwindling reading culture,” said Phiri.
Acting National Librarian for NLS, Bonney Sangole said resource constraints are failing the institution to reach out to more learners and people at large.
However, Sangole said they are working their best to ensure library services are extended to more communities and schools.
Out of the 28 districts, NLS is operating in only 13 districts which Sangole is not enough hence the introduction of mobile van library to reach out to more areas and schools.
“We have introduced mobile van library services around primary schools which do not have libraries in their schools. We have also partnered with Book Aid International to establish small Libraries in some primary schools as well as provision of book boxes so we reach out to more learners in schools.
“Therefore, the event today is very important to remind ourselves; teachers, learners to do more on reading to expand our knowledge,” said Sangole.