Librarians can bring books to life, especially for children, yet training in children’s librarianship isn’t something offered in most library qualifications and courses in Africa. As a result, many public and community libraries in Africa do not have a designated space for children, librarians are often under-confident in working with children and children can be discouraged from using the library because they are afraid of disturbing other users. Our team of professional librarians provides in-country training to develop inspirational children’s librarians. With our support, they can transform libraries into welcoming environments for children where children are guided to books which will capture their interest, learn new skills and where the habit of reading is nurtured.
Brenda Funsani, Library Assistant at Balaka Branch of the National Library Service in Malawi, attended three days of training facilitated by Book Aid International. Balaka is a small town in the southern region– Brenda describes it as ‘a half village’ with about 25,000 people and the branch library is the only public library in this area.
The training has been so great and we have learned a lot. One of my hobbies is to be with children and I’ve learned a lot about being with children in the library, like which books children love, and what involvement they like in the library.
When I go back to Balaka Branch, something will change. I have taken something from Book Aid International and I will take it to the Balaka branch and hope that the children will enjoy their involvement in their library.
Having completed the training, Brenda returned to her library inspired. As the new Children’s Corner in Balaka Branch begins to take shape, Brenda is keen to become more involved with children’s activities and ultimately dreams of being a specialist children’s librarian.
The Children’s Corner is very important because it’s like a foundation to their futures. When you have a friendly Children’s Corner, that means you are developing a world.
This Children’s Corner will make a difference. In Balaka, most people are just used to going outside and chatting and playing. But as of now, they will be flocking to the library, reading while having fun with books. I think and hope this will change the children of Balaka.
Find out more about our librarian training in this short film.