On Thursday 26 August, 20 community librarian volunteers from four districts including Gasabo, Bugesera, Ruhango and Kayonza completed a three-day training, aimed at providing the trainees with effective community library management skills.
The participants, 10 males and 10 females, were made up of community literacy volunteers and youth volunteers.
The training was organised and conducted by Umuhuza organization in collaboration with the Kigali Public Library, with the support of Bank of Kigali (BK) and Right to play.
Community librarian volunteers were prepared to manage community libraries set up by Umuhuza organisation in four districts including Gasabo, Bugesera, Ruhango and Kayonza. The libraries were established in September 2021 as part of the Celebration of National Literacy Month.
During the training, the participants learned about the effective use of digital and physical children’s reading resources, library management and book classification and cataloging, and digital library systems and services.
Other topics include a guide to labeling books for pre-school children, literacy vis a vis to Rwandan culture, challenges and future perspectives, effective community outreach activities and collaborating with reading clubs and ensuring inclusive library services.
Trainees also toured the Kigali Public Library to learn more about the services offered by the library.
The organisers held a panel discussion with Umuhuza staff and the Kigali Public Library facilitators to discuss the development and sustainability of community libraries.
Clarisse Uwamahoro, facilitator at the Kigali Public Library, said community library volunteers are expected to be the ambassadors who will play an important role in the evolution of the community’s reading culture.
“Trainees need enough library information. For example, some people think that libraries just mean books. But we showed them that libraries can even be places for meetings and trainings. There are gaps in reading culture in the community where members don’t understand it. We hope that trainees can mobilize and encourage other community members to adopt a culture of reading,” Uwamahoro noted.
The Executive Director of Umuhuza Organisation, Mathilde Kayitesi, thanked Umuhuza and KPL staff and partners, including Bank of Kigali (BK), Right to Play for their support to make the training successful. She also highlighted the enormous contribution of the Kigali Public Library to literacy.
Kayitesi urged trainees to be the solution to the problem of illiteracy in their communities.
“Everyone should have a reading culture and spread it to their neighbors. In your community, you should display literacy programs at all community services so that members understand your work and embrace it,” she added.
Retitia Uwimana from Ntarama sector in Bugesera district said the training would help them provide better services.
“We had lectures on effective library management to all community members. Before, I used to facilitate children, but soon I will be facilitating adults too. We will work with local leaders to get communities to understand the role of reading so they benefit from the facilities,” Uwimana said.
“We are now ready to provide effective services to people who come to the community libraries. The training is constructive, we hope to manage and protect reading materials (books and digital tools) effectively,” Victor Nkizabera of Kinazi Sector in Ruhango District said.