Schools celebrate Library Month

13 Nov, 2014 - 00:11 0 Views
Schools celebrate Library Month Wadzanai Ndlovu

The Herald

Wadzanai Ndlovu

Wadzanai Ndlovu

Own Correspondent
Parents and other stakeholders have been called to support efforts to build school libraries in order to provide a results-oriented learning environment for rural schoolchildren.

The call was made by various speakers at a function held last week at Matanha Secondary School in Mhondoro-Mubaira, Mashonaland West province, to celebrate the International Schools Library Month which falls in October. An annual worldwide event, the International Schools Library Month was this year running under the theme “Your School: Mind-Map Central”

The local celebration was organised by the Zimbabwe Library Association (ZImLA) in collaboration with Harare City Library (HCL), Book Aid International (BAI) and Africa Development Mission Trust (ADMT). Led by Pastor Denford Chizanga and his wife Shingirirai, ADMT is already involved in various community development projects with some of the schools in Mhondoro-Mubaira.

Wadzanai Ndlovu, vice president of the Zimbabwe Library Association, said that the International Schools Library Month is observed the world over during the month of October with the objective of celebrating the importance of school libraries and encouraging a reading culture among schoolchildren.

ZimLA, she said, saw it important to mark the celebration in Mhondoro-Mubaira as a way of motivating rural children to read as much as they can in order to catch up with their peers in the city.

“As ZimLA we are lobbying for one library, one qualified librarian for each school. We will not give up on our efforts to engage the Government and all stakeholders to recognise the importance of investing in school libraries,” said Ndlovu.

Book Aid International and Harare City Library donated boxes of wide-ranging educational books to five schools, namely Gora Primary, Marigumura Primary and Secondary, Nyamashesha Secondary School and the host school.

Education inspector Emmanuel Kudyarawanza, who spoke on behalf of Chegutu District Education Officer (Mrs P Z Nyandwe), described a school library as every child’s friend and every teacher’s resource but ,decried lack of support from parents.

“Sadly, our parents are still expected to do more than they are doing now to complement efforts being made by our good friends here (in reference to ZimLA, BAI, ADMT and HCL).

“We are not asking much from the parent but if you can only pay levies in time this will make it possible for schools to operate effectively and maintain high standards as well as provide a proper learning environment for the pupil. Zero percent pass rate does not make us happy. We expect an improvement now that the books are here,” Kudyarawanza said.

He urged parents to look at school libraries as a cheaper way of getting books which are relevant for their children because some books are now expensive.

“Prices of books are high these days. A library member can borrow a book to compensate this cost. Rural youths also need libraries to abstain from criminal activities,” he said.

Representing Harare City Library which also made a generous book donation to the five schools present, Memory Kanyati, vice-chairperson of the HCL committee, echoed Kudyarawanza’s sentiments that the books donated heralded an improvement in the pass rate. She promised that HCL will continue working together with ZimLA and other organisations to improve the literacy level of rural schoolchildren.

Book Aid International, an organisation which has sent over 15 million books to libraries in rural areas in Africa since 1954, also donated books.

Yeukai Chimuka, the organisation’s Harare Distribution Committee chairperson, urged schools to prioritise library periods as they are mandatory following their (the library sessions’) approval by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

“Let’s prioritise library periods because they are equally important as any other school subject,” said Chimuka.

Head of Matanha Secondary School, which hosted the event, Memory Ziyambi expressed her gratitude for the book donation, saying she hoped parents will understand when schools approach them about building a school library.

“I want to thank Book Aid International and Harare City Library for donating books; it is a step ahead for us in the rural areas. It is now left to us to convince parents to build a school library,” she said.

In his closing remarks, Alderman Leonard Kwaramba of Ward 6 Chegutu Rural District Council also challenged School Development Committees to include school libraries in their school development projects.

“We only thought of sports, renovating schools and yet forgetting something important that contributes to the pass rate of our children. When we are doing our budgets, let’s also include a portion for a school library. It can be a room which can be used as a library,” said Alderman Kwaramba.

Guests at this function were treated to school drama and music. It was Obey Magaya, a Grade 7 pupil from Marigumura Primary School, who amazed everyone with his acting skills in the drama called “Dzidzo Inhaka”.

Later in the day, the school- children were divided into groups to engage in a variety of 20-minute-long activities such as storytelling facilitated by Patricia Matira from Marondera Children’s Library, Audio-Visual session conducted by Takwana Masunda from Harare City Library, AIDS awareness session led by (Auntie) Memory Kanyati, career guidance by Tariro Dube from Harare City Library and “My Library Experience” session which was facilitated by Marshall Matiza from ZimLA.

In October every year, schools around the world are encouraged to choose a day to celebrate the importance of a school library.

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