Municipal Public Library bridges gap through reading
By Alex Gahima
Nothing beats reading a hard cover copy of your favorite novel, wouldn’t you agree?
The Millennial generation, as we have been described, is greatly privileged to live in an information bubble. With just a click of a button on your smart phone, you can access vast amount of information from anywhere and at any time.
As good as that sounds, Information on the internet is not always filtered from lies, plagiarism and propaganda.
When you visit Kisoro Municipal public library, located on Mutanda road Plot 61, you will have an opportunity to read a wide range of books that have been written by writers whose trade has been tried and stood the test of time.
Meet Sylvia Uwimana the Librarian
Uwimana, is a warm hearted lady who clearly has passion for books and for people too.
With a huge smile on her face, Uwimana tells me the Public library currently has over 7000 book ranging in different categories including health, business, Agriculture and tons of interesting novels.
She explains that the books would be so much more but due to the Covid-19 lockdown, people who always support the library could not send more books but she is hopefully that when the lockdown is lifted permanently, the library will receive more books.
At the time of meeting Uwimana, I notice that she was reading, the Lion and the Jewel, a play by Wole Soyinka, one of my all-time favorites, back in school.
She explains to me that during the Lockdown, many people tried to visit the Library because they needed information and knowledge to remain relevant since their jobs had been stopped.
“We receive at least 20 people daily visiting the library. Some people are students, others are from the business community while others are simply looking to pass time by reading an interesting novel”, Uwimana said
Uwimana explains that all one needs to use the Library resources is to come with a national Identity card.
“We do not charge any money to use the library. All you need is your National I.D, if you wish to borrow a book, then you will leave the I.D behind until you return the book”, Uwimana explained.
The Library operates from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
Library Users Speak out
Sarah Muhawenimana, a student of Kabale University pursuing Bachelors in Environmental Science comes from Nyakinama Sub County. She says she visits the Library at least three times a week because she has access to all the books she needs to research about her course.
Steven Niringiyimana, a student of Kabale University pursuing Bachelor of Agriculture and Land Use Management says he often travels 13kms from Mgahinga, in Muramba Sub County to use the library.
Why do you do it, I ask him, “The library has been a place of solitude for me. When I am not engaged in home chores like farming, I like to spend time reading and the library has allowed me to enjoy that”, Niringiyimana explained.
He however notes that the biggest challenge at the Library is that there is no canteen or cafeteria for snacks which needs to be included because reading can make someone hungry.
Rules and Regulations of the Library
Uwimana says the Library has simple rule and regulations.
She notes that Silence is paramount therefore all phones must be put in silent mode or better still, they can be kept out of the reading room to avoid distracting others.
She also explains that no bags are allowed inside the Library to avoid theft of books.
The Library, that was established back in 2017 is still young and therefore lacks some e- learning resources.
“We need some computers with internet to allow people research and collaborate information that is current and relevant, Uwimana noted.
She noted that the rooms are not enough to handle the growing space but she is hopeful that the library will expand as the people continue to show interest in reading.
Uganda has low reading culture due to disinterest of students to read beyond what they need for examinations in order to get the magic papers, the certificates.
Secondly, the inability of most of our “educated” people to read for pleasure before and after graduation is indicative of a low reading culture.
Thirdly, the few libraries we have in Uganda report low levels of visitations and use.