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Partner voice: Sierra Leone Library Board

Since 2016, with your help, we’ve provided 376,117 books to readers in Sierra Leone. Each book has been processed and distributed by The Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB). It’s a big job! Mr. Musa Mansaray, Acting Chief Librarian at SLLB, told us how they do it.

What’s it like when a shipment arrives?

When a shipment arrives, there are feelings of excitement, jubilation and fulfilment by SLLB staff members, pupils and adult library users – and even for passersby and by the Ministry of Education! This is also cascaded to our book distribution recipients nationwide. 

Walk us through the steps of processing the books in a shipment.

The first thing that happens is that SLLB staff unload the shipment and the books are taken to the Ranfurly warehouse where the books are stamped with Book Aid International’s stamp. They’re then transferred to the cataloguing department.

Staff in the cataloguing department then separate the books based on their different purposes. Some are for distribution to other schools and partners across Sierra Leone. Those are sorted and listed for the institutions.

The books for our 25 national and public libraries are given class marks or numbers and catalogued in our library system. They get a book cards, book pockets, date labels and a location stamp.

Then all the books are sent on their way!

If we hadn’t received books from Book Aid International, it would have been so challenging for us to serve the public.

– Mr. Musa Mansaray, Acting Chief Librarian at SLLB
Why are these books so important? 

These new books really matter. They provide relevant and up-to-date subject information for library clientele, patrons and researchers. They add value to our book collections. If we had never received books from Book Aid International, it would have been so challenging for us to serve the public.

Especially in times like when Ebola ravaged our country and now the effect of Covid hitting the world. Our libraries would have been dormant without the support of Book Aid International.

What’s the best book you’ve ever received, and why?

There are many great books, but I think Handa’s Surprise is one of the best we’ve ever received. This book is used in all our training for Children’s Corners, Inspiring Readers, Explorer Libraries and Books to Go projects and in all our children’s libraries. It is in high demand by our children’s library users. We hope to receive more of these books, and others like them, in the future!


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