The National Library Servises of Malawi (NLS) has launched ‘Reading Promotion Campaign’ at a colourful function which took place at NLS Headquarters in Lilongwe on Saturday in the effort to promote reading culture in the country. The Principal Secretary for Ministry of Education Justin Saidi joined dozens of school students and parents in a campaign march along streets of the Captial City.
After launching the campaign on behalf of Ministry of Education, Saidi applauded NLS for the intiative and appealed to learners to participate actively by using the facilities and resources provided by the library.
Saidi emphasised that reading culture is so paramount if the country is to progress. However, the PS was quick to admit that the coming in of various technologies has impacted negatively towards promotion of the reading culture.
NLS Chief Executive Officer, Gray Nyali said they will work hard to accomplish their mandate which is to ensure that people of Malawi have access to educational, training, recreational and information materials for national development.
Nyali commended the Book Aid International for supporting the intiative and that the launch of the campaign also forms part of celebrating and advocating the reading culture.
“Parents have a big role on the campaign where they are supposed to support their children reading culture and that they should also read to their younger children as well as bringing them to the National Library,” Nyali said.
For the campaign NLS has introduced a mobile van library to be parked at various accessible locations.
Also joining the campaign is Lilongwe-based Barefoot Readers Initiative, a voluntary group aimed at reviving the reading culture among the youth by providing books to libraries and also introducing book clubs in schools.
Barefoot Readers Initiative founder Isaac Mafuel said the initiative is targeting to provide primary and secondary schools in Lilongwe with libraries or permanent structures that have potential to be used as libraries.
Mafuel disclosed that the initiative has plans for fundraising through Poem Anthology to be sold in selected schools and shops which later they will use for purchasing additional books.
Barefoot Readers initiative has no specific number of beneficiaries and is looking forward to recruit more volunteers to aid in literacy.
A few weeks ago, NLS assembled Lilongwe school-going girls to inspire them to a reading culture as well as to aim at taking a shot in science subjects such as technology, engineering and mathematics.
At the function NLS launched an initiative named Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and they have already provided for STEM study Hub in all MNLS libraries for easy access to all science students.
In this section there is also learning materials which are provided by MNLS partners, Book Aid International, which most science students take good advantage of.
MNLS Book Development Officer Laura Malala said the STEM project aims at supporting students in their science subjects studies for them to prepare well for their examinations.
She told the girl students that science subjects are considered vital for national development and there is a need to inspire more youths, especially girls, by providing them with every learning material they may need and thus the launch of STEM.
With the coming in of smartphones and computers Malawi reading culture has drastically dwindled. According to UN estimates, over 775 million adults worldwide lack minimum reading skills.