Tag Archives: digital futures

Children's Corner readers

Digital Futures for Ugandan Libraries learning paper

Between 2015 and 2017, we worked in collaboration with the National Library of Uganda and Worldreader (a non-profit which provides access to digital books through e-readers and mobile phones) to implement the Digital Futures for Ugandan Libraries project in ten public libraries across Uganda. The project focused on introducing e-readers to children in public libraries and this paper presents the key insights.


Project background

Since 2014, we have been working in collaboration with the National Library of Uganda and Ugandan Community Library Association to support young readers in public and community libraries through our Children’s Corners programme. Library spaces have been refurbished to make them more suitable and attractive for children and stocked with extensive collections of brand new children’s books. Librarians have also participated in training to develop their skills and knowledge in working with children.

Our Digital Futures for Ugandan Libraries project follows on from this and aims to further enrich children’s reading through the introduction of digital reading resources alongside printed books.

Ten public and community libraries in Uganda took part and in addition to kindle-ereaders, they also received a range of brand new printed children’s books, training for staff in how to use and integrate e-readers into their reading programmes and support to promote their collections and programmes to their local communities.

Key outcomes from Digital Futures for Ugandan Libraries

Outcomes include:

– Greater insight into what children like to read
Children report a preference for story books over non-fiction or text books. They like being able to swipe through an e-book and to use the dictionary. They particularly print books for their stories and colourful illustrations.

– Increased library usage
Libraries are reporting an increasing number of children using their libraries, either on their own or in class groups from local schools.

– Increased community interest
Introduction of the e-readers as an additional resource has galvanised interest amongst local teachers and education officials.

Read the report in full here

Digital Futures for Ugandan Libraries is funded by the Dulverton Trust and players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We would like to thank them for their support.

children with e-reader

Uganda’s children’s libraries are going digital!

Recently, Book Aid International launched a partnership project with National Library of Uganda and Worldreader to bring e-readers into Children’s Corners. 10 libraries in Uganda now have 20 e-readers each, preloaded with 200 titles to support education and reading. Here, Stella Nekuusa, Principal Librarian for National Library of Uganda, tells us what impact the project will have.

Everybody is interested in moving ahead with the rest of the world and embracing digital, or DOT.COM as we call it in Uganda. Recently, National Library of Uganda was delighted to launch a partnership project with Book Aid International and Worldreader to bring e-readers into Children’s Corners in Ugandan libraries. Through using the e-readers the children will be introduced to using computers and more importantly, using them for an educational purpose.

Many of the primary schools in the vicinity of the libraries involved do not have school libraries and those that do have libraries usually only have textbooks. The children are held back from learning about anything beyond what is taught in school. Now with the e-readers they have hundreds of books at their fingertips, with content from all over the world including African content and Ugandan titles. This makes a real difference for them as they can recognise the world which they read about in their books.

This project is bringing children of the poorer communities on board with IT and this has put smiles on their faces because computers were not something they thought they would get access to any time soon. Over 90% of these children do not have computers at home and we see parents, even teachers, getting jealous of their children getting there before them to try something new!

Training was provided by Worldreader earlier this month to help librarians and children make the most of the resource. The librarians have been equipped with the skills to work with children and assist them find what they are interested in to explore their natural talents and build them further through reading.

The digital content will give access to books which parents can rarely afford for their children. The e-readers are especially useful as they do not suffer the wear and tear that books can – especially the most popular stories. The pilot projects that Book Aid International has run in Kenya have seen almost zero damage to the e-readers because the training provided helps librarians to look after them and to help children to do the same.

With the e-readers children have discovered that there is a wealth of storybooks and non-fiction books available for them in beautiful colourful pictures and stories they relate to at their age. The learning process has been made more independent as they teach themselves the meaning of words by checking them out from the inbuilt programmed dictionary.

We believe that our work of promoting a reading culture has received a real boost because children that have accessed stories on e-readers are now picking printed books to read whenever it’s not their time to use the e-readers. Soon we shall realise how reading improves their vocabulary and ability to express themselves and confidence to communicate in the English language.

This project is generously supported in part by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, who have been supporting Book Aid International since 2014.

Photocredit: Worldreader